New Delhi: In a major development on the issue whether colour-blind candidates can pursue MBBS or not, the Medical Council of India recently agreed to lift its bar, thus allowing people with colour vision deficiency (CVD) to pursue a career in Medicine.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that the question of Colour Blind aspirants pursuing MBBS had been brought before the Supreme Court, when two medical aspirants who were unable to pursue MBBS due to their partial colour blindness, had knocked on its doors after they were declared ineligible for admissions at the stage of counselling in 2015, on the ground that they suffered from partial colour blindness.
The appellants pointed out that there were no regulations framed by the Medical Council of India under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, debarring the likes from admission, for in the absence of a regulation, neither any instruction nor resolution of the MCI could throttle the right to appear. Moreover, they were denied admission based on the Recommendations of the expert Committee of the Medical Council of India (MCI)
Addressing the controversy created by lack of clear cut directions by the MCI, in the month of March 2017 the court directed the Medical Council of India to constitute a committee of experts to look into the areas of practice that MBBS aspirants suffering from colour blindness could indulge in
Read more at Medical Dialogues: Can Color Blind pursue MBBS- Questions Supreme Court
Expert Committee Recommendations
The committee, comprising experts from genetics, ophthalmology, psychiatry and medical education, recommended that a decades-old bar against color blind candidates has to be done away with and current discrimination on the basis of color vision deficiency cannot be sustained. TOI reports some of the submissions made by the panel in the report as
- CVD should not be an absolute bar in the medical profession as it was a common problem. It said there should not be any restriction either at the stage of admission, or at the stage of completion of study and registration as a medical practitioner.
- There are many reasons why doctors with CVD may perform as well as those with normal colour vision. Firstly, the diagnostic and treatment process is not solely reliant on the ability to perceive colours. There are many other cues from history of illness and examination that might be utilised to compensate for the handicaps resulting from CVD. Doctors with CVD can also overcome their difficulties by carrying out a more thorough diagnostic assessment and taking the help of other colleagues
- As per current international practices, there is no policy of regulating entry of medical aspirants to study and practice of the medical profession based on colour vision deficiency. There are also no identified or mentioned practice restrictions.
- The committee termed the MCI rule barring color blind persons from becoming doctors as “regressive”. It has said that color vision deficiency nowadays is a common problem and does not significantly impact a person’s ability to become a doctor.
PTI reports that Senior advocate K.V. Vishwanathan ( amicus curie, who has been assisting the court, said India is perhaps the only country where color blind people are denied admission in medical colleges. He said that color blindness is not considered as a deterrent for rejection in countries like the US and the UK. In the present case, while the MCI is of the opinion that admission cannot be granted to the two students as the students had given the exam two years back and hence could not be accommodated in present session, the amicus curie held that the petitioner has got extraordinary rank in 2015 test and the court should direct MCI to grant them admission in MBBS course.
TOI reports that the counsel appearing for Medical Council of India has informed that the court that MCI has accepted the recommendations and that it would implement the recommendation and a formal decision would be taken in its academic general body meeting to be held in October. The counsel for MCI further informed that mandatory screening for colour blindness had been done away with for NEET.
The court has now posted the matter for September 12, 2017