Hearing impaired MBBS aspirant gets relief from Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has come to the rescue of a student with a hearing impairment and directed the Centre and the Medical Council of India (MCI) to allow her to participate in the admission counseling process to enroll for MBBS/BDS courses. The court also called recommendations of the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) “abhorrent to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and to the provisions of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016”.

The MCC was constituted by the MCI, following a directive by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to specific provisions for students with disabilities eligible to enroll in MBBS/BDS courses. Among its recommendations, the MCC had said that those with more than 40% hearing disability cannot pursue graduate medical education. Once a student with disability cleared the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), he or she had to appear before a medical board, which followed the MCC’s recommendations in granting eligibility certificate to students. The medical board is present in four hospitals—in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

Dealing with the case of a minor with hearing impairment, Justice Siddharth Mridul observed that the Disabilities Act came into being to give effect to the UN Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India was a signatory. “The Preamble to the said Act does not permit for any deviation from the stated objective, namely, to accord respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, freedom of choice, right against non-discrimination, full and effective participation in society and equal opportunities in all walks of life… to persons who are differently abled,” Justice Mridul noted.

“In this view of the matter, I am of the considered view that prima facie, recommendations of the Committee set up by MCI… are abhorrent to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and to the provisions of the said Act,” the judge said.

The court directed authorities to allow her to participate in counselling for the MBBS course for the academic session 2018-2019 under the physically handicapped category. The girl had moved the court through her father, and had sought directions to the Centre and MCI to get her admitted into an MBBS course. She had secured 95.08 percentile score in NEET (UG) 2018, but was found to have hearing disability of 70%.

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