The Supreme Court bench of justices Dipak Misra and A.M.Khanwilkar, on August 11,directed the Chhattisgarh Government to constitute the requisite Medical Board within two days to examine a candidate suffering from Thalassemia, which is a benchmark disability under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, under the disability quota for admission to any medical stream.
Under the 2016 Act, five per cent of the seats for the persons with benchmark disability are required to be reserved. “The said statutory command, needless to say, has to be followed in letter and spirit”, the bench noted in its order. The 2016 Act is a legislation of great welfare measures and it is the duty of everyone to see that the provisions are carried out with quite promptitude, the bench added.
The bench directed that the results of her medical examination by theboard be produced before it on August 18. In case the petitioner passes the benchmark as per the 2016 Act, her case may be considered, the bench noted.
“It is the duty of every institution to extend helping hand in its command to the disabled persons”, the bench emphasised in its order.
The petitioner, residing in Raipur, appeared in the NEET examination 2017 held in May 2017 for undergraduate medical and dental courses, and secured sixth rank in the physically handicapped category for the state of Chhattisgarh.
The 2016 Act has widened the meaning of the word ‘disability’ to include more classes and cases of disability. Section 2(r) defines “person with benchmark disability” to be a person with not less than forty per cent of a specified disability.
Specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority.
Section 2(s) defines “person with disability” as a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others.
Section 32 (1) of the Act requires all Government institutions of higher education and other institutions receiving aid from the Government to reserve not less than five per cent seats for persons with benchmark disabilities. Section 32(2) requires that the persons with benchmark disabilities be given an upper age relaxation of five years for admission in institutions of higher education.
Chhattisgarh Government has not recognised the disorders under the category of disability, and therefore, denied admissions to the petitioner, and other similarly situated disabled persons. Such differently-abled students are unable to get disability certificate in order to avail the benefit of reservations provided under the Act, the petitioner told the Supreme Court.