Volume 3 Issue 19 - October 01, 2005

Delhi H.C. asks D.U. College to grant admission to a disabled student

D.N.I.S. News Network - While granting admission to an orthopaedically disabled student to a Delhi University College, the Delhi High Court has observed that the colleges, while filling up the three per cent disability quota must be open to relax rules to accommodate students with disabilities.

Delhi University’s College of Art had failed to give admission to Nitin Sharma to do Masters in Fine Arts. Nitin had successfully completed his Bachelors in the same discipline from the same college, but under the general category.

Justice Vikramjit Sen, having issued notices to the College of Art and Delhi University, sought an explanation as to why the Petitioner, despite being eligible for admission was denied the same. While the University came out with its guidelines stating that the three per cent quota had to be exercised uniformly by all its colleges, there was scope to go beyond the limit if the situation so warranted.

However, the college adopted an adverse stand, contrary to the University guidelines, to which it was bound. The college stated that for admissions to post-graduate courses, the quota was fixed department-wise. This implied that the three per cent quota would be divided among the three streams -- Painting, Sculpture and Applied Art.

Under such weird interpretation of rules, which basically means not taking in any student with disability as the break-up of reserved seat would be less than one seat, the Petitioner had no chances of being admitted. Despite having obtained a favourable Order from the Commissioner of Disabilities in July 2005, the college simply ignored to implement the Commissioner’s recommendations. Finally, Nitin approached the High Court.

The Counsel of the Petitioner, Alok Sangwan, said out of the total 21 seats on offer, the Petitioner was the only candidate with disability. The Court expressed shock to note that such strict enforcement of rules had barred students with disabilities, since the time of inception of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act in 1995, not a single disabled student was granted admission in the college.

In this context, Justice Sen observed, “Jural experience is that there is an antipathy towards implementing and honouring even the statutory limit.” Noting that seven seats are available in each of the three streams, it wondered why the college has not set apart even a single seat in each stream, which was possible for it under the University Resolution. The Court while directing the college to admit the Petitioner, asked the college to reconsider its policy and incorporate change to accommodate more than one disabled candidate.

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