Published on: October 7, 2023 at 11:30 IST
The Kerala High Court has called for a response from the state government regarding a petition filed by a 19-year-old medical aspirant with a locomotor disability who was denied admission to pursue an MBBS course.
Justice Devan Ramachandran emphasized the importance of empathy and concern when determining whether a person should be declared “disabled” and incapable of pursuing medical studies, given the impact on their ambitions and life.
The petitioner asserted having a 45% permanent locomotor disability, initially assessed in 2021. She claimed to have scored 248 marks and secured Rank 1108, while the cut-off score was only 136-121. Her disability, she argued, did not hinder her activities, dexterity, or hand sensitivity in any way. She contended that the Medical Board for Disability at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College had erroneously categorized a leg fracture as a permanent disability.
Despite this, the petitioner stated that her disability was only 74%, and individuals with disabilities ranging from 45% to 80% are eligible for reservation under the “persons with a disability” category. However, she alleged that the Medical Board for Disability had disqualified her without providing valid reasons, pegging her disability at 74%.
On September 1, 2023, when the case was brought before Justice Viju Abraham’s Single Judge Bench, an interim order was issued, directing authorities to proceed with the petitioner’s admission if she met the eligibility criteria outlined in the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
Justice Ramachandran, in his recent observation, noted that specific criteria must be verified to assess whether the petitioner was incapable of continuing as a medical student, and it appeared that these criteria were not adequately examined.
The Court emphasized that the case should not be adversarial, and it urged the relevant authorities to assist the petitioner, if possible. The Court also requested the state to provide a response to the matter.
Additionally, the Court suggested that until the next hearing on October 11, 2023, the petitioner should be allowed to continue her course, subject to further orders.
This petition was filed with the assistance of Advocates P. Haridas, Biju Hariharan, Shijimol M. Mathew, P.C. Shijin, and Roshin Mariam Jacob.
Case Title: Aiswarya S. v. Union of India & Ors.