Will com­mit sui­cide, says blind stu­dent on los­ing seat

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - NATION - Jee­van Prakash Sharma jee­van.sharma@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEWDELHI: A 19-year-old med­i­cal stu­dent who is un­able to see be­yond a dis­tance of 8cm has threat­ened sui­cide af­ter the Med­i­cal Coun­cil of In­dia can­celled his ad­mis­sion to col­lege since his dis­abil­ity is re­garded too se­vere for some­one tak­ing the MBBS course.

Suresh’s tale high­lights a prob­lem of ne­glect and de­lays that plague al­most ev­ery gov­ern­ment of­fice in the coun­try. He was given ad­mis­sion in 2016 by au­thor­i­ties in Kar­nataka who should have taken note of his con­di­tion, only for it be can­celled al­most a year later by the coun­try’s med­i­cal reg­u­la­tor.

On Au­gust 28, Suresh wrote a seven-page let­ter, and a sep­a­rate two-page sui­cide note with a head­line, “No­tice of Death” in which he listed his strug­gle to land the col­lege seat.

He said that de­spite his 70% vis­ual dis­abil­ity, he scored 86% in his Class 12 ex­am­i­na­tions, stud­ied hard to pre­pare for the med­i­cal col­lege ex­am­i­na­tion, and sold an­ces­tral prop­erty to pay for his first year fees dur­ing a pe­riod in life that also co­in­cided with the death of his par­ents.

“Out of se­vere de­pres­sion, I have writ­ten to MCI to solve my prob­lem. I have no op­tion but to end my life if I don’t get a so­lu­tion in my favour,” he told HT over a phone call.

Of­fi­cials of the Kar­nataka Ex­am­i­na­tion Author­ity al­lot­ted him a seat in Raichur In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences (RIMS) un­der the quota for stu­dents with dis­abil­ity af­ter he scored a rank of 20,000 out of 1.5 lakh in the state’s com­mon en­trance test (CET) last year. He joined RIMS, a gov­ern­ment col­lege, in July 2016.

On June 26, 2017, the MCI can­celled his ad­mis­sion be­cause it vi­o­lated a 2009 reg­u­la­tion. The rule says that the only dis­abil­ity al­lowed in med­i­cal col­leges is of the lower limbs, and a can­di­date had to fall un­der the 50%-70% sever­ity to be el­i­gi­ble for re­served seats.

Some­one with more than 70% dis­abil­ity is not el­i­gi­ble for ad­mis­sion at all.

In De­cem­ber 2016, par­lia­ment passed The Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties Bill – 2016 which al­lows 5% reser­va­tion with­out any ex­cep­tion in all ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions. The leg­is­la­tion came into force in April 2017 but it does not ap­ply in Suresh’s case be­cause he took ad­mis­sion last year.

Suresh chal­lenged the MCI’s can­cel­la­tion or­der in the Kal­aburagi Bench of Kar­nataka High Court, which, in an in­terim or­der on July 31, per­mit­ted him to ap­pear in first year ex­am­i­na­tion.

Suresh

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