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Delhi High Court Tells Centre To Explore Possibility Of Physically Disabled Candidates Being Able To Pursue Some Disciplines Of Medical Education

Nupur Thapliyal
18 April 2022 1:45 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Tells Centre To Explore Possibility Of Physically Disabled Candidates Being Able To Pursue Some Disciplines Of Medical Education
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The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the National Medical Commission to explore, in consultation with Central Government, the possibility of physically disabled candidates being able to pursue some disciplines of medical education with the advancement of science and technology, in the next six months. A division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin...

The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the National Medical Commission to explore, in consultation with Central Government, the possibility of physically disabled candidates being able to pursue some disciplines of medical education with the advancement of science and technology, in the next six months.

A division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla disposed of a plea of a medical aspirant, with disability namely amputation of thumb, index finger and part of middle finger of right hand, who had secured provisional admission in the Maulana Azad Medical College in MBBS course.

She was aggrieved with a disability certificate, issued to her by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, pegging her disability at 45%.

The Petitioner had thus claimed that despite the amputation, she could use her hand with full capacity and the same was demonstrated from her past record, including her sports activities.

Earlier, the Bench had directed AIIMS to conduct her medical examination and assess whether she is in a position to undertake the MBBS Course.

The board was specifically directed to examine whether the Petitioner would be able to function, discharge all essential functions expected of MBBS students and doctors.

During the course of hearing today, it was submitted by the counsel appearing for the petitioner that the medical board had not opined that the petitioner would not be in a position to either undertake the MBBS course or to practice as an MBBS doctor.

It was argued that all that the Board had expressed was that the petitioner would experience difficulty in discharging the duties effectively as an MBBS student and MBBS doctor.

It was thus submitted that that with practice, the petitioner would be able to discharge her responsibilities and that with advancement in science and technology, several branches of medicine do not even require the use of both the limbs in the discharge of duties by an MBBS doctor or doctor who is even more qualified.

Having considered the submissions, the Court found itself unable to grant any relief to the petitioner. 

"This is for the reason that assessment of the petitioner with regards to her ability to undertake the MBBS course and thereafter serve as an MBBS doctor has to be left to the experts in the way which has been done by experts of AIIMS," the Court said.

It added that in exercise of our discretionary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, the Court cannot sit in appeal over the opinion rendered by the medical board constituted in terms of its earlier order.

"It is unfortunate that the petitioner who appears otherwise meritorious cannot pursue MBBS course on account of her physical handicap," the Court noted.

It added "At the same time, we direct the respondent to explore the possibility of candidates such as the petitioner being able to pursue some of the disciplines, if not all, of medical education considering the advancement in science and technology. Let this aspect be considered by the respondent no 5 (National Medical Commission) in consultation with Central Government in the next six months."

Earlier, the Court had ordered RML Hospital to examine her. However, RML's report dated March 17, 2022 also concluded that the extent of Petitioner's locomotor disability is at 49% and she is not eligible for admission in medical courses.

The Court noted that the eligibility guidelines prescribes both hands intact with intact sensation, sufficient strength and range of motion.

"The expression "both hands intact" used in the aforesaid regulation could be interpreted to be actual presence of both hands intact. They could also be interpreted broadly considering the fact that the regulations are part of a beneficial legislation, to include cases where both hands may not actually be intact but the person does not suffer from lack of essential functionality indicated of her duties either as MBBS student or doctor. We are therefore of the view that the Petitioner be subjected to another medical examination by a board of experts," the Court had ordered.

Last month, the Court had ordered medical examination of an aspirant with temporary mental illness, to ascertain his ability to pursue MBBS. The case was closed as infructuous after his disability was found to be less than 40%, rendering him ineligible for reservation as a person with disability.

Case Title: Neha Pudil v. Union of India & Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 335

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