Volume 5 Issue 5 - March 01, 2007

I.I.M.-B. rejects bright disabled student; Rebuffs R.T.I. plea for details of selection

D.N.I.S. News Network – This is not the first time, and sure it will not be the last. Educational institutions all over India continue to be discriminatory in their approach to disabled students, and brilliant ones at that! The sad story continues as I.I.M.-B. turns away another bright visually impaired student with a percentile score of 89.29 in Common Admission Test (C.A.T.) 2006.

Both admission and information were denied to visually impaired Vaishnavi Kasturi, who was one of the top scorers of C.A.T. 2006. Like thousands of M.B.A. aspirants, Kasturi spent endless hours with her books and computer, taking mock tests, brushing up her English and trying to improve her data interpretation skills for almost three months to crack the C.A.T.

She was very pleased when the Indian Institutes of Management (I.I.M.s) announced the results of C.A.T. 2006 last month. With a percentile score of 89.29, Vaishnavi had outscored thousands of other students, including some of her classmates.

When I.I.M.-B. announced the C.A.T. percentile score cut-off under the Persons With Disability category as 86.42, she was sure she would be called for a group discussion and personal interview. But it never happened.

When the student filed an application under the Right to Information Act (R.T.I. Act), I.I.M.-B.even refused to reveal the names and percentile marks obtained by shortlisted blind candidates, saying it was a ‘trade secret’. I.I.M.-B. Public Information Officer A. R. Ramesh said, “At I.I.M.-B., the processing formula applied for the selection of candidates for group discussion and interview is considered to be trade secret and kept confidential.”

A disappointed Vaishnavi says, “I was really hurt. I hoped I would be called for the discussion, but I did not receive any letter. Someone suggested I file an application under the R.T.I. Act., and I did. But the reply given by the institute has hurt me further.”

The institute has said that information on the selected candidates is confidential. “The decision of the Admission Committee is final. There is no provision for appeal or review,” was I.I.M.-B.’s curt response.

But a brave Vaishnavi is not giving up. “I have decided to appeal. I will approach the institute’s Director and even the Central Information Commission for denying information,” she said.

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