New Delhi: The disability guidelines recenlty issued in the Gazette of India notification by Board of Governors in supersession of the Medical Council of India (MCI BoG); have been objected by the disabled medical aspirants and doctors.
The gazette notification specifies the eligibility criteria of PwD candidates on the basis of their disability. However, as per the medical activists under the umbrella association Doctors with Disabilities- Agents of Change, the amendments mentioned in teh notification are in violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPDA).
Consequently, the association has shot a letter to the Union Health Minister Shri JP Nadda, informing him that the recent notification issued in the official Gazette on Regulations on Graduate Medical Education does not have the eligibility guidelines as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. Via its letter, the association has urged the Minister to break these attitudinal barriers and grant PwD candidates their basic human right of higher education irrespective of disability.
The association has raised objections on specific accounts including Locomotor disability, Amputation, Specific learning disabilities, Disability due to Blood Disorders and Disability due to Chronic Neurological Conditions.
“… we are hurt by the MCI BoG’s decision to disregard the amendments by Ministry of Health, the neglect of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPDA) and the spirit of UNCRPD. The decision to consider people with more than 80% of locomotor disabilities as “ineligible’ to persue MBBS is an insult to the pioneer work of Dr Mary Verghese, the wheelchair user, who established India’s first PMR Department and Dr. Suresh Advani, a wheelchair user hemato-oncologist, whom President awarded Padma Vibhushan and MCI awarded BC Roy award. We are also appalled by the removal of dysgraphia from the list which is stated as a specified disability in the disability law.”
Supreme Court, as well as High Courts of various States, granted relief to candidates with upper limb disability, lower limb disability more than 80%, hearing impairment, low vision, haematological disabilities, specific learning disabilities etc. to name a few.
They also expressed displeasure over non-involvement of doctors with disabilities or people with disabilities in the Committee which arrived at these guidelines.
Notifying the Union Health Minister about the MCI Meeting Minutes in which it was stated that once the upper percentage limit for 21 categories of persons with disability for UG is finalized the same will be adopted for PG, the association urged,
“Considering, MCI BOG disregarded the minutes of the meeting chaired by Additional Secretary, MoHFW dated 17.08.2018, we request the Ministry to not accept the above discriminatory guidelines for Post Graduate Counseling.”
“… The need to have separate disability certification for the selected candidates at the Disability Assessment Boards constituted at the four metro-cities should be abolished.”
Medical Dialogues team has been extensively reporting about the setback that disabled candidates have been facing when it comes to medical admission. Even the last MBBS admission session saw a series of petitions being filed before various courts including the apex court in the country, calling the MCI guidelines arbitrary, discriminatory and also standing in violation of the Disabilities Act.
On November 16, the MCI released the new amendments to the disability rules for MBBS admissions inviting public comments.
The dilemma for such candidates was made worse for the candidates as, by the time MCI finalised the new guidelines, the application process of NEET 2019 would be over.
The association, at that time as well, had written to the MCI Board of Governors providing point by point response on the amendments and also demanding that the NEET 2019 deadline be extended till the amendments are finalised so that current candidates as also able to take benefit of the revised guidelines.
Following this, the deadline was extended and NTA invited application from disabled candidates on the basis of the drafted guidelines.
The guidelines have now been finalised but much to the dismay of disabled candidates at a time when NEET 2019 application process is over