Plea challenges two hand requirement for medical class lesson admissions: HC seeks Centre stand – education

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought response of the Centre on a disabled woman’s plea challenging a provision in the General Medical Admission Regulation which requires both hands to be intact for being regarded as for a medical class lesson.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the ministries of Health, Human Resource Development and Social Justice in addition to the National Medical Commission, Safdarjung Hospital and Lady Hardinge Hospital seeking their stand on the woman’s petition.

The petitioner, Baibhavi Sharma, who has only one arm from birth had qualified the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG), 2020 and was once allotted a seat in Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi in MBBS class lesson under persons with disability (PWD) category.

“Unfortunately, her aspiration to develop into a doctor has come to a grinding halt because of her being declared ineligible in the light of the condition in the Graduate Medical Admission Regulation 1997 which requires — ‘both hands intact, with intact sensations, sufficient strength and range of motion are fundamental to be regarded as for medical class lesson’.” the petition filed through advocate Mrinal Gopal Elker said.

Throughout the hearing, the bench asked Sharma’s lawyer how a person with one or no hands can develop into a doctor and observed that there would be sure kinds of jobs for which sure disabilities cannot be accommodated.

Sharma’s lawyer said the authorities have to inspect every case on its merits and there cannot be a blanket prohibition which is the effect of the condition provided in the regulation.

Her petition has claimed that despite her disability, “she has a consistently good academic record, can swim, cycle and skate and is in a position to do all her day to day activities without any assistance”.  Her petition seeks a direction to the Centre to withdraw/cancel/withhold the condition under challenge.

She has also sought setting aside of the disability certificate issued to her which states she isn’t eligible for medical and dental courses.

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