May 22, 2019
“Being Blind Need Not Destroy One’s Dreams”.
Powerful words from the Madurai Bench of the Madras High
Court slamming the new guidelines of the Medical Council of
India (MCI) as “unfair, discriminatory and unlawful”.
The bench of women justices said this while hearing a petition filed by
J Vibin, who qualified for the National Eligibility
Cum Entrance Test (NEET) with an all India rank of 285 in the
disability quota. Vibin is physically challenged and has a benchmark
disability of visual impairment to an extent of 75%.
Vibin was allotted a seat in Government Pudukottai Medical College
Hospital in the MBBS programme. He was asked to produce a Disability
Certificate from one of the assessment boards as mandated by the MCI.
Vibin appeared before the medical board approved by the MCI and was certified
that he had visual impairment and Congenital Anomaly-Both Eyes
and that the percentage of visual disability is 90%. He was ruled as
ineligible as per MCI norms.
Vibin challenged this and a single judge bench held that the denial of
admission was against the provisions of the RPWD Act. This was challenged by
in the High Court , which upheld the previous order and said that rejecting
Vibin on the basis of percentage of disability violated the principles in the
The competency of a Doctor with disability cannot be assumed, as unless it
is experienced one may not understand the same. If a person with visual
impairment is already a Doctor, it shall be possible for a blind person to
be a Doctor. – Madras High Court order
This was not all. The court went on to make several other observations that
were heartening. It noted that hospitals in India are not disabled-friendly
and that it was painful to see that no time allowance is given to persons
with disabilities while taking the tough medical entrance exam. It also said
that candidates with learning disabilities or any other disability should not
be barred from entering the field of medicine.
Dr Satendra Sigh, founder of the group Doctors with
Disabilities, a group that has been campaigning against the
discriminatory MCI guidelines, said the court’s observations were truly
“It is heartening to see the Honourable Court including the demand of the
Doctors with Disabilities movement in the judgement that we should be
involved in policy decisions. I am also grateful that they have quoted from
my paper published in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics
last year as to MCI Guidelines being unfair, illegal and discriminatory. This
is the success of our movement that along with the Delhi Rights of Persons
with Disabilities Rules 2018, Courts too are using the words ‘Doctors with
Disabilities’. This is the true inclusion which we were looking for in line
with nothing about us, without us.”
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