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Disabled student wins case against Chandigarh medical college, court orders admission

In a landmark order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that a student, who was denied admission by the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, on grounds of disability, be allowed to study medicine.

The order relates to Rohit Sharma, who was earlier granted provisional admission to GMCH-Chandigarh after he got the required clearance from one of the approved institutes. The certificate said he has a disability more than 40% and was eligible as per Medical Council of India guidelines.

Yet, Rohit's provisional admission was cancelled as he was declared "not fit as per the non-eligibility guidelines of MCI on grounds of locomotor disability."

With the help of leading disability rights activist Dr Satendra Singh, Rohit decided to legally challenge the order. The court directed the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Chandigarh to set up a medical board and examine Rohit. The board ruled:

After thorough examination of the provided medical records and examination of Mr. Rohit Kumar, the Medical Board is of the opinion that: As Mr. Rohit Kumar has normal mental faculties, normal cognition, normal vision and normal handwriting, his Understanding is Normal. He is fit to undertake the Medical courses.

The court has ordered that Rohit be granted admission into GMCH Chandigarh in the current session itself. It has also directed GMC to pay him Rs 5,000 in costs.

Rohit's father, D L Prasad is ecstatic with the decision. He says his family had to move to Himachal Pradesh after his son was forced to join the Government Medical College, Nahan.

"This place is very inaccessible, both in terrain as well as the college premises. I am in the Indian Air Force and my base in in Chandigarh as well, so this is a major relief."

Rohit, who has been fighting this case for two months now is both happy and wary.

"This is a victory and a major relief as the GMCH in Chandigarh is more accessible than Nahan, but I am just a little worried about how college authorities will be towards me given that I challenged them."

As for Dr Singh, this latest development, which follows a series of such court orders in favour of disabled students pursuing medicine, this is a sign of things to come. "All of these are good positive developments which will help to build a favorable atmosphere towards amending the MCI guidelines."

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