Putting to rest uncertainty shrouding the ambition of a physically disabled wheelchair-bound boy to study medicine, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the government medical college, Chandigarh, to grant him admission in MBBS course after a medical board constituted by PGIMER, Chandigarh, on the orders of the court found him capable of facing rigours of a medical course.
The court has also asked the college to pay a cost of Rs 5,000 to the petitioner, who was diagnosed with gamma sarcoglycanopathy and cannot stand, walk, bend and lift objects himself owing to muscle weakness or raise both arms against gravity for sustained period.
The high court had referred the matter to PGIMER after the disability certificate issued to the youth said he was eligible for admission in the medical/dental course as per the MCI/DCI guidelines subject to him being otherwise medically fit but the medical board constituted by the Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, found him unfit for admission to MBBS course.
Based on its opinion, the college cancelled the provisional admission granted to the petitioner.
When the petitioner approached the court, a bench of Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu referred the matter to PGIMER, Chandigarh, requesting it to set up a board to determine the physical disabilities of the petitioner and his ability to undertake the medical courses.
Taking note of the PGIMER’s findings, the bench said, “Evidently, the petitioner has been found to be possessed of normal faculties and he is capable of facing rigours of a medical course. Since we have satisfied ourselves by obtaining a report from the PGIMER, Chandigarh, which leans in favour of the petitioner, therefore, we are of the opinion that the stand of the respondents in declining admission to the petitioner on the presumption of his inability to undertake a medical course is not correct. We while accepting the present writ petition with costs direct the respondents-college to grant admission to the petitioner forthwith in the current session.”
Commenting on the development, Dr. Satendra Singh, who has been closely assisting Rohit and many like him and is a disability activist, said, “There is no such thing as a disabled doctor. The MCI denying disabled their chance at studying medicine is not correct. How can one judge whether a person is fit to study medicine without assessing that person and his faculties?”
In the instant case, the petitioner sought admission in the MBBS course under the physically challenged quota. The prospectus stipulated that the Disability Certificate issued by the NEET (UG) 2018-approved centres will be accepted.
In keeping with the same, the petitioner got a certificate from Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, which was one of the prescribed Institutes.
The certificate said he suffered from gamma sarcoglycanopathy and the extent of his disability was over 40 percent. It said he was eligible for admission in the medical/dental course as per the MCI/DCI guidelines subject to his being otherwise medically fit.
“Evidently, the Certificate indicates two things, one is of a person being eligible to an admission for the Medical Course but subject to his medical fitness,” noted the court.
To test his medical fitness, the petitioner was assessed by a board constituted by the college which said he was not fit as per the non-eligibility guidelines of MCI.
“We are confronted with the situation where the petitioner relies on a Certificate, issued by one of the Institutes recommended by the MCI, but discarded by the respondent-College in view of the report of the Medical Board, constituted in accordance with the provisions of the Prospectus,” the bench had noted before referring petitioner’s case to PGIMER.
“In putting to practice, the Regulations of the MCI even before they found acceptance in law has lent a certain fluidity to the situation, particularly, when it manifest in the Prospectus itself, however, the Certificate issued by the MCI Guidelines for whatsoever its worth does acknowledge two aspects of a candidate being eligible on account of his physical disability and his ability to undertake the Course on the issue of Medical Fitness,” the bench had observed and referred to matter to PGIMER.
The PGIMER board opined that the petitioner had normal mental faculties, normal cognition, normal vision and normal handwriting, his understanding is normal and he is fit to undertake the medical courses.