No relief for learning disabled student from Bombay High Court

Mumbai student Naman Varma has successfully completed all the semesters of a master’s degree in industrial design at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B).

However, Naman will not get the degree.

The Bombay High Court has refused to give directions to IIT-B to issue her the formal degree. They say that she was not qualified to be admitted to the course.

Varma had applied for two-part entrance test for the master’s course through general category, even though she has a learning disability called dyscalculia.

Varma sought to take benefit of the reservation given to disabled persons only after realized that she had failed to secure qualifying marks in the Part-A entrance examination.

Varma secured 50% marks in the Part-A entrance examination. The rules require general category candidates to secure a minimum 64%.

After noting that qualifying marks for Part-B examination were 32% for the physically handicapped category, she sought admission through that category on the ground that she had a a learning disability.

Varma approached the court after IIT-B refused to consider her plea through this category. The court directed the institute to consider her plea and she got admission to the master’s programme.

All that remains is the formal issuance of the degree, which IIT-B has refused to do.

The judges said that although she has successfully completed the course, they cannot order grant of degree to her. Only the Supreme Court can issue such a directive by exercising its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.

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