The Supreme Court while refusing to stay the introduction of the four-year degree courses in Delhi University, asked the authorities to look into the problems and grievances of the visually impaired students and mitigate them.

A Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Dipak Misra in its order on a petition filed by Sambhavana challenging the introduction of the four-year degree courses said: “We are not experts. But we are disposed to think that the problem has remained unsolved. The same is required to be addressed in an apposite manner. We do not intend to say that it has not at all been addressed but there has to be more focus, more empathy and more sensitivity.”

The Bench permitted the appellant organisation to submit a representation indicating its grievances and the views to the Empowered Committee within three days which shall be dealt with by the Committee within a week.

The Bench said: “When the University has thought of imparting education in a different way, it has to bear in mind the need of sensitivity and expected societal responsiveness. A visually impaired student is entitled to receive special treatment. Under the constitutional frame the State has to have policies for such categories of people. Article 41 of the Constitution casts a duty on the State to make effective provisions for securing, inter alia, the rights of the disabled and those suffering from other infirmities within the limits of economic capacity and development. It is imperative that the authorities look into the real grievances of the visually impaired people as that is the constitutional and statutory policy.”

The Bench said: “The grievance that has been accentuated is that there has been non-redressal of the grievances pertaining to modification in the examination system and restructuring of curriculum. The University has to live the role of Loco Parentis and show its concern to redress the grievances in proper perspective. Not for nothing Ralph Waldo Emerson had said, “the secret of education is respecting pupil”. Thus, the necessity of the visually impaired students should have primacy in the mind of the Empowered Committee of the University. Education for visually impaired students is a great hope for them and such a hope is the brightest bliss in their lives. At this juncture, we are obliged to state that though the University had constituted an Empowered Committee and it has experts, yet we are inclined to think that the grievances raised by the appellant organisation relating to visually impaired students require more focus and sensitive approach.”

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