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"Aswathy v Union of India"-Educational Rights of Individuals with (Locomotor Disability)- NEET(UG)

The petitioner in the case Aswathy v. Union of India (W.P.(C) No.27225 of 2020) is an individual suffering from Cerebral Palsy. The case dealt with the right of the petitioner to get admission to the MBBS course under the quota earmarked for 'Persons with Disability.' The petitioner had successfully appeared for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, 2020, (NEET) and was included in the list . She claimed that she is entitled to get admission under teh 5% quota earmarked for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) as per the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 read with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (the Act). The petitioner was having locomotor disability with the specified disability of Cerebral Palsy.

As per the relevant MCI regulations, a candidate suffering from Cerebral Palsy must not have a disability exceeding 80% to claim admission under the 'Persons with Disability' quota. The petitioner's disability was assessed at 63.3% by the Designated Centre. However, she was found to be ineligible by them stating that she was not suitable for medical courses due to involvement of her right upper limb in the disability.

The court granted an interim order directing the concerned respondents to grant the petitioner provisional admission. In the case questions were raised regarding the nature of the petitioner's disability as well. It was argued that Triplegia (a condition associated with Spastic Cerebral Palsy) was independent of Cerebral Palsy or not. The court passed an interim order directing the Designated Centre to clarify on this matter.

An examination was conducted as directed in the interim order. As per the said examination, it was confirmed that Triplegia is not an independent disability but a medical condition associated with the petitioner's Cerebral Palsy. The court then considered the eligibility criteria in Appendix H-1 of the relevant MCI regulations, and found that the petitioner satisfies the requirements and she is eligible for admission to the MBBS course.

The court emphasized that persons with disabilities have the right to receive education, and denying admission based solely on disability would be discriminatory. The court also stressed about the need for disabled-friendly curricula and provisions. Consequently, the court allowed the writ petition..

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