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MCI requirement for double certification puts disabled medical aspirants under undue stress

As if all the stress that goes into clearing the medical entrance exam is not enough, disabled students who have cleared the NEET have another battle ahead. This time for the medical certification needed by the Medical Council of India for counselling of people with disabilities in MBBS.

It took nearly a fortnight and five trips from his hometown in Haryana to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Chandigarh before Mr B, who wishes to remain identified, got the medical certificate his son needed to sit for the counseling that all disabled medical aspirants are required to undergo

Mr B's son, who has a hearing impairment, already has a disability certificate and Rule 19 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act 2016 says that the disability certificate issued under Section 18 of the Act is enough to enjoy all government concessions, schemes and benefits.

Yet the Medical Council of India (MCI) has said that all disabled medical aspirants must get a separate disability certificate from one of the 10 centres in India it has selected. Last year there were just four centres and following an uproar, the number was increase but even this is inadequate. For instance, there are just two centres for all of North India. "I had to travel from Meerut to Chandigarh for my certificate", says RP, a student with a hearing impairment who wants to stay anonymous. "There was no one at GMCH to check me and I had to wait for a few days. There should be more centres".

But why the need for a double certification at all, ask experts. A petition challenging the requirement for a double certification was filed by disability rights leader Dr Satendra Singh in February this year. That case will come up for hearing in early August, by which time the first and second rounds of counselling for NEET will be over.

One of the prayers was that the double certification should be done away with to begin with. Having introduced this, they should at least ensure that there are enough experts available for counseling students. Instead they are being out through long waits or turned away. - Dr Satendra Singh, Doctors with Disabilities

Mr B* agrees. "If they want to do this, they should have more centres and the certification must be done faster.

Both the RPD Act and the Unique Disability ID scheme do not allow this practice of double certification, yet the MCI continues to make the demand putting disabled students through immense harassment.

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