Student With Thalassaemia Wins Legal Battle Over Medical College Seat in Delhi

The Delhi high court has ordered the state-run Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University to grant Digant Jain, who cleared two rounds of counselling, admission in a medical college.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court has directed the government-run Guru Gobind Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) to admit in its medical course a student suffering from thalassaemia on the basis of the new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

The Wire had earlier reported how GGSIPU had taken the decision to not grant admission to Digant Jain in August this year, despite the Supreme Court noting that “it is the duty of every institution to extend helping hand in its command to the disabled persons” and directing Chhattisgarh to constitute a medical board to examine the case of Sruchi Rathore, a girl with thalassaemia, who was denied admission in a medical course.

Justice Indermeet Kaur of the Delhi high court also took cognisance of this case before pronouncing her decision in the GGSIPU case.

Jain had moved the Delhi high court for relief stating that he was a thalassaemia patient and a person with a disability as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, and that he had appeared in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) examination and qualified in March 2017 in the general category.

Taking up the matter on August 28, the high court had stated that at the time when the petitioner had appeared for his NEET examination, the new Act had not been notified. The new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, which was promulgated in December 2016, was only notified in April 2017.

However, on learning about the new legislation, which was in favour of the petitioner, Jain had applied for a change from the general category to the persons with disabilities category. This was granted to him, as is evident from the result of the NEET which says that the petitioner falls in the persons with disabilities category.

However, when the counselling session ended on August 28, the petitioner – GGSIPU – pointed out that while he had already attended counselling sessions scheduled for July 23, August 12 and August 28, there appeared to be no seats in the MBBS course in any of the colleges of the respondent university.

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While taking on record the order of the Supreme Court in the Sruchi Rathore versus Union of India and others case, Justice Kaur noted “with pain that all this has happened for the fault” of the respondent, who despite knowing that the petitioner was a person with disability, did not abide by existing legal regulations.

The high court also took cognisance of the submission of other respondents, that “all persons holding PWD certificate shall be eligible for reservation in Delhi as also for sets outside Delhi in terms of the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.”

In its order, the court said it was clear that the status of the petitioner changed from the general category to the persons with disabilities category on July 16; that the first round of counselling was held after that date on July 24; that he was not declared unsuccessful; and that he was again called on August 12 for a second round of counselling in which he was successful again.

“The fact that he was under the bonafide impression that his case was being considered favourably after these rounds of counselling was his rightful expectation of the candidate that he was being considered in the persons with disabilities category,” Justice Kaur held, adding that the submission of the university that there was no persons with disabilities category at the time of the second round of counselling is incorrect. If that had been the case, she said, he would not have been allowed to participate in the second round of counselling.

The high court also held that the fact that the petitioner had participated in the mop-up counselling held on August 28 was not in dispute and that the schedule for it was notified on August 23. The university had mentioned then that the seats of persons with disabilities, if vacant, would revert to their parent category – meaning that at that stage also the university gave the impression that there were seats available in the persons with disabilities category.

In light of these facts, the court held that Jain was entitled to the relief he asked for and directed the university to provide him admission in the MBBS course in any of its three colleges.

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