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Equal Participation Of Students With Disabilities In Online Classes: Plea In Supreme Court Seeks Directions To Centre To Issue Guidelines

Srishti Ojha
31 Aug 2021 4:38 PM GMT
Equal Participation Of Students With Disabilities In Online Classes: Plea In Supreme Court Seeks Directions To Centre To Issue Guidelines
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The plea also seeks directions to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Higher Education to implement the provisions of the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016.

Supreme Court on Monday listed for notice a plea filed seeking directions to the Centre to issue specific guidelines to all States, UTs and Academic Institutions to ensure that students with disabilities participate equally with others in online classes.The Bench has granted liberty to the petitioner to serve the Union of India."Amendment to be carried out in 1 week. List notice to...

Supreme Court on Monday listed for notice a plea filed seeking directions to the Centre to issue specific guidelines to all States, UTs and Academic Institutions to ensure that students with disabilities participate equally with others in online classes.

The Bench has granted liberty to the petitioner to serve the Union of India.
"Amendment to be carried out in 1 week. List notice to the Respondents. Liberty to serve the Central Agency." the Bench said.
A Bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice JK Maheshwari was hearing the plea filed by Javed Abidi Foundation, which has also sought directions to take into consideration the plight of students with disabilities while finalising the examination schedule.
During the hearing today, Advocate Sanchita Jain appearing for the petitioner informed the court that an application has been moved by them seeking to make some amendments in their petition.
The Bench has directed the said Amendment to be carried out in 1 week.
The present plea filed through Advocate Sanchita Jain has further sought directions to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and Department of Higher Education, to ensure that the said guidelines are strictly implemented within a specified period failing which the penalty as stipulated under Section 89 of the RPWD Act should be imposed strictly with immediate effect.
Further, according to the petitioner, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Higher Education should be directed to implement the provisions of the RPWD Act, more particularly Sections 16 and 17, in its letter and spirit.
The present plea has argued that denial of any reasonable accommodation for accessing online education at a time when most of the classes are being conducted online constitutes discrimination against students with disabilities under Section 2(h) of the RPWD Act and thus violates their right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.
"The RPWD Act creates an obligation on the part of the State to take positive measures to ensure that in reality persons with disabilities get enabled to exercise their rights. It is submitted that this kind of divide has been created not by the online medium of education, but by the absence of recognition of specific rights of students with disabilities to provide access to online education." the plea has stated.

Case Title: Javed Abidi Foundation v. Union of India

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