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Disability rights body seeks Health Minister's intervention to overturn guidelines that discriminate against MBBS aspirants

February 14, 2019

Angered by the Medical Council of India (MCI) callous and discriminatory attitude towards disabled medical aspirants, the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), has written a strong letter to J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) registering it's protest.

A cross disability organization of disabled people with a presence across many states, the NPRD has slammed what it has called "the continuation of certain blatantly discriminatory attitudes in the matter of admissions to MBBS".

These amended regulations debarring certain categories of disabled persons from pursuing medicine is a clear violation of the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. - Muralidharan Vishwanath, General Secretary, NPRD India

The revised MCI regulations bar people with locomotor disabilities above 80% from being admitted into the MBBS program. It also discriminates against people with blood disorders and chronic neurological conditions, with a disability of over 80%.

All of these go against the directions of the Supreme Court is an earlier case relating to a student in Haryana who was denied admission. Not only that, they go against the MoHFW's own amendments regarding admission of students with disabilities.

The letter also says that in framing the guidelines, "certain preconceived notions and prejudices were patently visible. We had also underlined that it was drafted without proper application of mind, oblivious of the best practices worldwide and divorced from the reality that advances in science and technology have become great enablers".

The NPRD has urged the MoHFW to step in and direct the MCI to reframe some of the guidelines in such a way that they enable people with disabilities instead of deterring them. It has also asked that doctors with disabilities as well as organisations working among persons with disabilities be involved in the framing of the guidelines.

RB, parent to a visually impaired child who is sitting for the medical entrance exam this year, hopes the letter will jolt the government into finally stepping in.

"We have no other alternative but to look to the government for justice now. Where else do people like us go? Only the government can intervene now".

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