New Delhi: Rejecting many of the provisions of the recently released Medical Council Of India Disability rules, an organisation of disabled medical practitioners have now written to the MCI BOG with their feedback. The organisation also demanded that the NEET UG 2019 application be extended to give the benefit of the new rules to the recent disabled NEET candidates.
Medical Dialogues team had recently reported that providing a policy-making say to candidates who are denied pursuing their dream of entering the medical profession on account of their disabilities, the Medical Council of India Board of Governors (MCI BOG) have put forward in public domain, the new amendments to the disability rules for MBBS admissions and invited comments. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com upto 30th November 2018 for further consideration in the matter.
Providing their point by point feedback, Doctors with Disabilities: Agents of Change, an organisation representing disabled medical practitioners have now written to the MCI with their feedback/suggestions.
The organisation has called for an extension to the last date of NEET 2019 so that the amendments are incorporated and disabled MBBS aspirants are able to take the benefit of the revised guidelines
” The revised guidelines were uploaded on 16 November only and they too are in draft process as the last date to submit the same is November 30, which happens to be the last date to fill the form for the mandatory NEET-UG test. This will deny all candidates with disabilities to apply in time. Moreover, if they apply under the disability quota and it turns out later that they are ineligible, they will lose out a chance to sit for the entrance test. If they apply through the general quota, they lose out entitlement provided by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (RPDA). Therefore, the last date to fill the NEET-UG 2019-20 form must be extended by a month after MCI BoG ratifies the revised guidelines, ” Dr Satendra Singh, Founder ‘Doctors with Disabilities: Agents of Change’ told Medical Dialogues team.
Dr Singh also informed that the organisation has written to the MCI BOG providing their suggestions/ feedback on the matter. ” There are many clauses which currently stand in violation of both the RPDA as well as the various court rulings in the matter. We have suggested point-by-point changes to the MCI Board of Governors, also asking them to involve people/ doctors with disabilities while making the policy, as they are the real experts on the condition. ” he sThe following
Following table summarises the point-by-point suggestions given by the organisation in the matter
|S.No||MCI BoG Guidelines for admission of Persons with Disabilities into MBBS||Suggested Change with Justification|
|1.||Persons with locomotor disability (leprosy cured, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, muscular dystrophy, acid attack victims & others): with more than 80% disability may also be allowed; but after their selection, their functional competency will be determined with the aid of assistive devices||1.The RPDA came into being to give effect to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India was a signatory. The Preamble to the said Act does not permit for any deviation from the stated objective, namely, right against non-discrimination, full and effective participation in society and equal opportunities in all walks of life. There is NO upper limit in the Act to limit the abilities of people with disabilities. Therefore, fixing an upper limit (80%) disentitles persons with specified benchmark disability from pursuing undergraduate medical education, and therefore are abhorrent to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and to the provisions of the RPDA.
2. Dr. Suresh Advani, a hemato-oncologist, and wheelchair user with 80 per cent disability is Padma Vibhushan and BC Roy awardee makes mockery of these guidelines. Many of the signatories in this letter have more than 80% disability and working to full their potential in Govt instituions.
3. Rohit Kumar (muscular dystrophy) was denied admission into GMC Chandigarh because he is a wheelchair user. Punjab & Haryana High Court vide WP(C) 19236/2018 directed PGI Chandigarh to do the medical examination which found him fit to study medicine. Accordingly, Court granted him admission & also penalised the medical college with fine of Rs 5,000
|2.||Visually impaired (low vision & blindness): equal to or more than 40% Disability are not eligible for medical course||1.New tools and technological innovations have opened doors for those with limited vision. This new reality is reflected in the landmark Supreme Court judgement in the case of Purswani Ashutosh (Minor) through Dr.Kamlesh Virumal Purswani v. Union of India and Ors WP(C) 669/2018. The apex Court upheld the claim of the medical aspirant with “low vision” to be admitted in MBBS course in Gujarat. This decision paved way for other candidate with disabilities in various other State High Courts to fulfil their dream of joining MBBS. Therefore, revised MCI guidelines cannot go against the SC and needs scrap this illegal bar on visually impaired candidates.|
|3.||Hearing impaired (Deaf & hard of hearing): equal to or more than 40% Disability are not eligible for medical course||1.MBBS admission of hearing impaired with more than 40% disability is no longer res-integra. A 70% hearing impaired girl was denied admission but Delhi High Court in a landmark decision granted her admission. The decision was challenged by MCI in double bench but they withdraw appeal after SC gave the landmark decision in Ashutosh Puruswani case. The girl is doing MBBS at VMMC Delhi now and become the first deaf girl to get admission under disability quota. (Tina Sharma (Minor) through her father Bhagwati Prasad Sharma vs Medical Council of India WP(C) 7820/2018 and LPA 433/2018 & CM APPL 31605/2018)
2. The Supreme Court in Parmod vs Union of India and Ors SLP(C) 25686/2018 stated that the hearing impairment candidate had been “illegally deprived” of seat, and directed that the candidate be admitted in the next year, in MBBS course and in a government medical college as the seats of persons with disabilities have been handed over to the general category. Accordingly, two seats (other being candidate with chronic neurological disorder) of that category is reduced for the next academic session 2019-20. This fact should also come in NEET brochure so that candidates know the reduction in the number of seats.
3.Individuals with hearing disabilities now have instant access to auditory information not only in the classroom but also in clinical and surgical settings. Real time captioning, smart phones and tablets, remote interpreters through video relay services, and digital stethoscopes can access and monitor data previously accessible only via hearing. MCI cannot ignore SC judgement and therefore must allow MBBS admission to deaf candidate above 40% disability
|4.||Specific learning disabilities (SpLD) -Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia: equal to or more than 40% Disability are eligible for medical course under disability quota||1.The previous MCI guidelines debarred SpLD candidates from pursuing MBBS. In pursuance of the directions of the SC in the matter of Purswani Ashutosh vide its order dated 10.08.2018 to the MoHFW, to take a decision on the Report submitted by MCI regarding guidelines for admission of Persons with Disabilities to Medical Education, Additional Secy, MoHFW conducted a high-level meeting on 17 Aug 2018. They approved our suggestion of allowing SpLD candidates as we gave them the evidence of doctors with dyslexia practicing successfully abroad. We are thankful to them for retaining the same in these guidelines.
2. Sanchit Kapoor v. Union of India and Ors WP(C) 8248/2018 and Kartik Singh Sawhney vs v. Union of India and Ors WP(C) 8252/2018 got admission despite being SpLD because of Delhi HC intervention but many who did not file legal cases missed out. MoHFW and MCI are requested to consult doctors with disabilities in policy decisions to avoid unnecessary litigations.
|5.||Disability due to Chronic Neurological Conditions: More than 80% not eligible||1.Supreme Court in Sachin vs the State of Haryana and Ors SLP(C) 25936/2018 allowed a candidate with more than 80% chronic neurological disability to get admission. As the State seats were filled, his seat has been reserved in the next academic session 2019-20. So how can MCI now debar similarly placed candidates|
|6.||Disability due to Blood Disorders (Hemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle Cell Disease): More than 80% not eligible||1.When candidates with 80% and above of locomotor disability (wheelchair users) can be allowed, it is discriminatory to debar candidates with disability due to blood disorders of more than 80%.
2. There is no such upper cap in RPDA.
|7.||Footnote: * Persons with disabilities of 40% or more may be allowed to pursue medical education, if the extent of disability can be brought down to below 40% with aid of assistive devices||This statement is not clear. The eligibility criteria is clear but nowhere it is mentioned whether or not they are eligible underwhat about disability quota.|
|8||The document at various places uses the word Physically Handicapped (PH)||The word should be replaced throughout with Disability quota. The expression handicapped has been banned vide Ref.No.10-04/CCD/2012 dated 07.02.2012|