Disabled not at par with SC/ST in Delhi University’s MBBS course: court

New Delhi, July 6 (Calcutta Tube) The Delhi High Court Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by a physically handicapped candidate seeking relaxation in the eligibility criteria for admission to Delhi University’s medical course.

‘The physically disabled persons should be extended all the rights, privileges and benefits under the said act (Indian Medical Council Act, 1956) so as to see they are not discriminated against and that they come within the social stream mainstream,’ said a division bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Veena Birbal.

‘But we do not agree with the contentions that the petitioner can claim parity with SC/ST (Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe) candidates insofar as the relaxation in the minimum marks required is concerned,’ said the court.

The petitioner, Mohammad Shah Afzal, moved the court after he was denied admission in the MBBS course by the Delhi University. He said in his petition that physically disabled candidates should be treated at par with SC/ST candidates.

Afzal, who suffers from 65 percent orthopaedic disability, appeared in the Delhi University’s medical entrance examination in 2008. He secured 41.5 percent marks in the qualifying papers, which was less than the minimum eligibility criteria set by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The minimum qualifying marks for a physically disabled candidate is 50 percent.

He again appeared in 2009, securing 37 percent marks.

The petitioner said that although there is three percent reservation for the physically disabled candidates, they are not able to qualify due to the high percentage kept for qualifying.

He said minimum qualifying marks should be the same as for SC/ST candidates.

‘As per section 39 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, three percent of the seats have been reserved for the persons with locomotor disability of lower limbs. There is no reservation for candidates with other kind of disabilities as that would interfere with the professional work as a doctor,’ the MCI submitted before the court.

A notification of March 25, 2009 has also relaxed the eligibility criteria for admission in respect of persons with locomotor disability of lower limbs to a minimum of 45 percent as against 50 percent earlier, the council said.

Afzal had earlier approached the chief commissioner for persons with disabilities. The commissioner, in September 2009, directed the university and the MCI to extend the relaxation for the physically disabled candidates. However, the Delhi University in its submission clarified that it was bound by the regulations set by the MCI.

‘The minimum standards of medical education are to be stipulated by the MCI and it is not for the court to examine whether it is right or wrong because we do not have expertise to do so,’ said the division bench.

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