The Supreme Court has sought the response of the Centre and others on a plea filed by a doctor with locomotor disability seeking admission in a postgraduate medical course under Persons with Disabilities (PWD) category.
Locomotor disability is the term used for multiple forms of cerebral palsy or a condition of the bones, joints, or muscles that restricts limb movement substantially.
A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Prashant Kumar Mishra issued notices to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Union Health Ministry, National Medical Commission (NMC) and others while seeking their replies by September 11.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Dr Dharmendra Kumar seeking admission to a postgraduate medical course under the PWD category.
According to the regulations, candidates with 40 to 80 per cent disability are permitted for medical courses under the quota meant for persons with disabilities while those above 80 per cent may also be allowed on case to case basis, and their functional competency will be determined with the aid of assistive devices.
Questioning the percentage-based disability assessment, the petition said determining the exact percentage of disability is often subjective and can vary depending on the evaluator.
Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that due to the “faulty and unscientific” methodology adopted by NMC, thousands of disabled medical aspirants have been deprived of the opportunity to pursue MBBS and MD courses.
Bansal said two different government medical boards have not only provided two different percentages to the petitioner but also changed the nature of disability.
“As per Medical Board constituted to grant Unique Disability ID, Dr Dharmendra is having Locomotor Disability and is 45 per cent disabled. However, as per Medical Board authorised by NMC, Dr Dharmendra is having chronic neurological disability and is 55 per cent disabled. The NMC has rejected Singh’s candidature from pursing MD course only on the basis of his disability,” the lawyer said.
He submitted that by disallowing the petitioner from pursuing a postgraduate medical course, solely on the basis of his disability, the NMC has failed to appreciate that the commission had, in its own board meeting, acknowledged there was a need to look at the specific PG courses that students with varying types and degrees of disability could pursue.
“It is submitted that Respondent No. 5 (Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research) without providing or mentioning any reason has declared the petitioner ineligible from pursuing postgraduate medical course and as such the same is nothing but unreasonable, illegal and arbitrary and thus an act of discrimination against the petitioner,” the petition says.