Court relief in MBBS entry

Guwahati, Sept. 18: Gauhati High Court has granted relief to an MBBS aspirant, who was denied admission to Jorhat Medical College because of her hearing impairment.

The high court directed the state government to give admission to the petitioner, Rajashree Khound, without subjecting her to any further medical test.

A copy of the order, passed by Justice Anima Hazarika on September 13, was made available to The Telegraph today.

Khound, a resident of Kenduguri Tiniali in Jorhat district, had sought an order from the court directing the government to allow her to take admission in MBBS courses for the 2012 session on the basis of her selection in the Combined Entrance Examination and its results published on July 24.

The petitioner has demonstrated academic excellence by securing 89.3 per cent in matric exam and 86.6 per cent in HS (science) examination.

Thereafter, she appeared for the entrance test for admission to MBBS/BDS courses in the medical colleges of Assam and the Regional Dental College in Guwahati.

In the entrance test she secured 186 marks and was ranked 199.

Khound's name finds place against serial number six in the list of "unreserved (General Merit)" candidates for Jorhat Medical College.

However, when she appeared before the principal of Jorhat Medical College for admission, she was informed that she was not eligible for admission in the medical college as she was found suffering from hearing impairment of approximately 69 per cent in her left ear and 71 per cent in the right ear. According to Khound, she wears hearing aid because of her hearing problem and has no other physical disability. She further stated that her hearing impairment was of no hindrance for pursuing MBBS course with the aid of modern appliances/hearing aids.

In an affidavit filed in the high court in connection with this case, the director of medical education, Assam, submitted that during the admission process, the principal of Jorhat Medical College constituted a medical board, which examined the candidates for their medical fitness.

The board found Khound unfit for admission into the MBBS course because of her "bilateral sensory neuronal deafness".

The respondents stated in the court that according to the Admission Rules (Regulation for Admission of Undergraduate Students) Rules 2007 (amended upto 2012), and the Medical Council of India guidelines, a candidate must be found physically fit by the medical board at the time of admission.

After hearing arguments on both sides, the court held that that "hearing impairment" of the petitioner per se cannot subject her to any disqualification for getting admission into the MBBS courses which she is otherwise entitled to by dint of her selection in terms of merit.

"The intention of the authorities to subject her to further medical tests so as to judge her ability to undergo the medical courses is wholly impermissible in law. It grossly violates the mandates of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and full Participation) Act," the court said in its order. "When a student is unable to compete with the general candidates, he or she has been given the right of reservation under the Persons with Disabilities Act in addition to a mandate on the state to restructure the curriculum of studies for the benefit of students with disabilities, including 'hearing impairment'," the order said.

"The petitioner here is not claiming the benefit of reservation for being a person with disability. Despite suffering from hearing impairment, she, by dint of her own merit, has competed with general candidates and has secured her position as a general candidate entitling her for admission into MBBS courses," the court observed.