Bombay court refuses to allow child with autism to take class 10 exam from school

The Bombay High Court has turned down a petition by the parents of a 16-year-old boy with autism seeking permission for him to sit for the class 10 exam this year.

The court has told the parents that the child be shifted to a school for children with special needs and that he take the exam at another suitable time.The boy is currently studying in a regular private ICSE school Mumbai.

The petition stated that the child has no problems understanding and writing his lessons, and that he needs more time than the average student to do so. But the school refused him permission to appear for the class 10 final exams.

The parents, however, cited previous judgements of the high court that allowed children with autism to study in regular schools as long as the school arranged for a shadow teacher and made other special arrangements. They also said that the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission had allowed a child in a similar case last year to continue at a regular school.

They also said that the state Ministry of Human Resource Development promotes an inclusive education model where several children with special needs are encouraged to study in regular schools.

School authorities, however, opposed the plea, saying the boy was unfit to appear for the exams and that while his writing skills are fine, he has the understanding of a student of class 1 or 2.

The court finally decided that it would be in the boy's interests to study in a special needs school and directed school authorities to provide the petitioners with a list of schools with an alternate curriculum suitable for their son.

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