The student had a benchmark disability as defined by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and hence, could not have been refused entrance to a veterinary undergraduate programme under the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) category.
After the Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University denied the candidature of an 18-year-old suffering from dysgraphia, the Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, ordered the university to reconsider his application under the PWD quota. The candidature of the student was rejected solely because he belongs to the intellectually-disabled category.
The 18-year-old suffers from dysgraphia – a neurological disorder where the person has difficulty writing or translating his thoughts into words. He had applied to the university for a veterinary science course.
Disqualified Candidacy Despite Being Eligible
The student appeared for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) exam in May 2022 in the Other Backward Class (OBC) and PWD categories and received 143 marks out of 720. He appeared before the medical board on October 10, 2022, in accordance with a provision of the admissions authorities' brochure. After a thorough examination, the medical board declared him "a person having an intellectual disability and eligible to pursue medical education and also eligible to claim PWD reservation", reports Hindustan Times.
However, when the college released the provisional merit list on November 18, the student's name was on the list of ineligible candidates. In a petition that the student filed through advocate V M Thorat, he claimed that the institution had completely rejected his application just because he fell under the intellectually disabled category.
University Opposes Student's Petition
The university opposed the petition, stating that a physically and mentally sound person is required to carry out the veterinary professional's duties, which include dealing with the lives of innocent animals, working in the field, performing surgery, and other tasks. Additionally, candidates who are physically or mentally challenged may react slowly, which could result in mishaps.
However, according to advocate Thorat, the student had a benchmark disability as defined by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and hence could not have been refused entrance to a veterinary undergraduate programme under the PWD category.
The attorney emphasised that while candidates with dysgraphia are not regarded as acceptable for admission to veterinary degree programmes, they are for MBBS programmes. He also brought the court's attention to recent advertising by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC), which invited applications for live-stock officers and set aside 3 per cent of the positions for persons with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities.
The petitioner was declared eligible for admission to the BVSc and AH programmes under the people with disabilities category by the division bench of justices Nitin Sambre and Sharmila Deshmukh. The bench then ordered the university to take his application for admission to the 2022–23 batch under consideration.
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