Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi University to file a counter affidavit in a plea seeking a direction to the Central Government to set up adequate and effective mechanism for providing educational and teaching material for the visually impaired and specially abled individuals.
While expressing disappointment with the lackadaisical approach of the University, the Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohil and Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that:
'While deprecating the casual and lackadaisical manner in whichUniversity of Delhi is contesting the present petition, that too when it is not adversarial in nature, last opportunity of one day is granted to it to file an affidavit.'
The court has directed the Delhi University to specifically deal with the O.M. dated 09.6.2020 issued by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, enclosing therewith copy of the minutes of the meeting dated 08.6.2020 held under the Chairmanship of the Secretary, Department of
Empowerment of Persons with Disability, which was attended by several Departments.
Earlier, the court had issued notices to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Moved by law students Prateek Sharma and Diksha Singh, the petition has also asked the Central Government to ensure that examinations are only conducted after ensuring that all students have received identical and complete educational instructions.
Due to COVID19, many colleges and Universities have started imparting online teaching. However, the Petitioner argues, the government has taken no steps to consider the need of the visually impaired and specially abled individuals (auditory impairment).
The petition states that:
'Due to this non-consideration, students at all levels who are visually impaired and/or specially abled (auditory impairment) find themselves in worsening educational condition and effectively have been left to fend for themselves during this period of hardship.'
Citing the current system of imparting education as discriminatory towards the persons with special needs, it is the duty of the state to ensure that such students receive the same standard of education.
However, the Petitioner claims, both the government and the Universities have neglected this issue and have adopted a very non serious and nonchalant approach.
Therefore, the Petitioner has asked for court's direction to ensure that an effective mechanism for conducting evaluation of specially-abled students is set up with immediate effect and without prejudice to their educational endeavors.
In addition to this, the Petitioner also wants the government to call for suggestions from respective stakeholders, experts and organizations which are working in the field of providing education at all levels to the specially-abled and visually/auditory impaired students.
The Petitioner in this case is represented by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal along with Advocates Nizam Pasha, Prateek Sharma and Diksha Singh.
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