Supreme Court clears the way for disabled Vadodara student to pursue MBBS
Muskan Shaikh was in school when she met with a bus accident during a picnic. Her right hand was amputated and she was declared as 75% disabled.
Always a good student, Muskan was determined not to allow disability to come in the way of her dream of becoming a doctor. However, the Medical Council of India (MCI) said she was ineligible and Muskan fought back with a a petition in the Supreme Court of India, which ruled in her favour.
But she can join only from next year as the MBBS admission process is over.
Like her, many disabled students in India are coming up against MCI guidelines that violate RPWD Act 2016. But there is growing support for such students.
Like Dr Joseph George, an orthopaedic surgeon from Kerala, who says that opportunities must always be equal.
I feel that a person must not be discriminated on the basis of their disability. A disabled person needs to have immense grit and courage to complete their medical course because it takes a lot of hard work and perspiration. At the same time, I feel they need to identify right areas where they can specialise and work accordingly. Since I work as an orthopaedic surgeon, I have felt that this job is going to be even more challenging for a disabled person! But everyone deserves a chance. MBBS is not just to make doctors who can treat patients. After MBBS, a person can do specialization in medical fields of their choice, research and even social service- Dr. Joseph George, Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Muskan was already eligible for an MBBS seat after she passed the National Entrance Cum Eligibility Test (NEET) with flying colours. She had sought admission under the disabled quota. But the MCI along with the Admission Committee for Professional Undergraduate Medical Educational Courses refused saying that her disability was more than what the criteria demands.
Chitra Shah, founder, Satya Special School in Pondicherry, says there are talented students with various kinds of disabilities, who are often denied opportunities.
“First of all I want to congratulate Muskan and her family for going the extra mile to pursue her dreams. I know many parents who do not even want their children to undergo basic school education. There are thousands of talented and smart disabled children amongst us. But they do not have the opportunities to come forward. Inclusion is need of the hour. I have met a few disabled doctors who are doing very well in their profession. Disabled students must sit in the same classrooms along with students who do not have any disabilities and learn things together. I hope I can see this soon”, says Chitra.
The Supreme Court order, however, only applies to Muskan. Like her, many disabled students face an uphill battle when it comes to enrolling for MBBS programs.
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