The Supreme Court has directed the National Medical Council to set up a panel of domain experts to examine a plea for evolving modes of disability assessment of students having mental illnesses, special learning disorder (SLD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for granting quota in admission to MBBS course.
The top court’s direction came on a petition by Vishal Gupta who was denied reservation in admission to MBBS course under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act on the ground that his mental disability was 55 per cent rendering him ineligible for securing admission in a medical college.
Under the Act, if the certifying authority certifies that the disability of a person is not less than 40 per cent then he or she is said to have the “benchmark disability”, and in that condition, the candidate cannot get the benefit of reservation in admission.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for the MBBS aspirant, that the person suffering from SLD and ASD cannot be treated so shabbily and denied quota benefits under the statute.
The bench took note of the plea of the counsel for the NMC (National Medical Council) that a committee was constituted for scrutinising the regulations on graduate medical education and the matter was now at an advanced stage of deliberation and decision making.
It noted that the grievance of the MBBS aspirant pertained to assessment of disability with regard to persons having certain intellectual disabilities like SLD and ASD. “We are of the considered view that the aspects which have been raised in these proceedings required to be considered by an expert body having domain knowledge.
"We, therefore, direct the National Medical Commission to treat the grievance of the petitioner in these proceedings as a representation and to consider the grievance at an appropriate level while dealing with the regulations on graduate medical education,” the apex court ordered on May 18.
The court shall be apprised of the decision which has been taken and a status report of the outcome shall be filed, it ordered and listed Gupta's plea for further hearing on July 17.
Gupta, in his petition, said his mental illness disability, as per the certificate issued by Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals, was 55 per cent and he was being discriminated against.
The authorities were denying Gupta the opportunity to pursue the medical science course because his mental illness is more than 40 per cent and they were also not providing him the benefit of quota, available to persons with disabilities under the law, to MBBS aspirants like him, the plea said.
“It is respectfully submitted that as per Section 32 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 the Respondents are duty bound to provide at least 5% reservation to the persons with benchmark disabilities and in accordance with the same National Medical Commission is providing PwD Quota to the MBBS Aspirants having benchmark disabilities,” it said.
It sought issuance of a direction against the Centre and others, including the NMC, to allow Gupta, having a benchmark disability, to pursue the Medical Science Course under PwD Quota. “Issue a writ / order / direction in the nature of mandamus against Respondents and in particular against National Medical Commission to develop the modes / methods of disability assessment of MBBS Aspirants having Mental illness and as such declare them eligible for PwD Quota,” it said.