6 Jun 2022 2:16 PM GMT
The Supreme Court recently granted relief to a student suffering from a learning disability named "Dyscalculia" by declaring that she has completed the Masters of Design course in the Indian Institute of Technology.A bench comprising Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha invoked the extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant relief to...
The Supreme Court recently granted relief to a student suffering from a learning disability named "Dyscalculia" by declaring that she has completed the Masters of Design course in the Indian Institute of Technology.
A bench comprising Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha invoked the extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to grant relief to the candidate.
The candidate had earlier approached the High Court of Bombay in 2013 seeking a direction to admit her to the Masters of Design course in IIT. The petitioner's case before the High Court was that she has passed the entrance exam based on the qualifying marks for physical disability category. She was given special privileges for Class X, XII and also the Bachelor Degree in Product Design as a person with learning disability.
Dyscalculia is difficulty in learning and comprehending arithmetics.
Under the interim orders passed by the High Court, her candidature was directed to be considered and the she was admitted to the course. With the passage of time, the candidate completed the course.
However, when the matter was taken for final disposal in 2018, the High Court held that it cannot issue a direction that the candidate has passed the course. The High Court refused to accept the argument that the candidate was entitled to the benefits under the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995.
"The Act does not define learning disability. At the same time what is contemplated by CEED was only physical disability and not learning disability", the High Court held.
The High Court also rejected the contention that learning disability would amount to mental retardation. It stated :
"To suggest that the petitioner suffered from mental retardation so as to fit into the category of physical disability would be an extreme unfair and inappropriate conclusion, since in our view mental retardation clearly indicates of incomplete development of mind which is necessary sub- normality of intelligence. In our view sub-normality of intelligence is a requisite ingredient of mental retardation as defined under the Act. Applying the test to the present petitioner would undoubtedly not be justified since the petitioner has admittedly not demonstrated sub-normality of intelligence, otherwise she would not have appeared and cleared various examinations for the past four years. Furthermore, she has been certified as suffering from dyscalculia which is learning disability and which has not been taken into consideration in the Act of 1995".
However, the High Court acknowledged that the interests of justice require that the petitioner be declared as successfully completed the course. But, the Court refrained from doing so saying that under Article 226, it cannot pass such a declaration, as her admission is found to be irregular.
"..we have to necessarily hold that the petitioner has not qualified to be admitted for M.Des programme of the respondent Institute under the category of PD i.e. persons with disability", the High Court held in its judgment delivered on April 17, 2018.
Aggrieved, the candidate approached the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court noted that the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 has been replaced with the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 and that the entitlement of the appellant under the 2016 Act is "certainly made out".
Though the Supreme Court affirmed the High Court's view on the points of law, considering the fact that the appellant has completed the course, the Court said that it was not persuaded to cancel her candidature so as to put her qualification in jeopardy.
"We, therefore, exercise our power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India and declare that the appellant has successfully completed the course of Master in Design and that the qualification shall hold good for all practical purposes hereafter", the Court stated in the order.
The Court further said :
"However, at the cost of repetition we make it clear that the judgment rendered by the High Court on questions of law is affirmed and as and when the entitlement of the appellant under the provisions of the 2016 Act is to be considered, the same shall be considered purely in accordance with law."
The Court further directed that steps like handing over of the degree and all other testimonials to the appellant shall be completed within four weeks from today.
Caste Title : Naman Verman versus Director, Indian Institute of Technology
Click here to read/download the order