IIMs approve only three categories as disabilities or providing reservation

A final year B.Com student, who is also dyslexic, is spending anxious moments ahead of his Common Admission Test (CAT) scheduled in Bangalore next week. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) that conduct CAT have refused to accept dyslexia as a disability that would qualify him for reservation in admission, among other benefits.

Ironically, this comes in a year when the IIMs announced a 2 per cent rise in registrations by differently-abled (DA) candidates and time extension of one hour (30 minutes per section) during the CAT for them. Even the Delhi High Court has declared dyslexia as disability.

Sohan Sinha (name changed) had registered for CAT under the Persons with Disabilities category and had even received his admit card under the same category. “However, about 10 days back, a mail from CAT Candidate Care Support informed me about my ineligibility to appear in the exam under the disability category,” he told.

The mail, a copy of which is with The Hindu, stated: “As per ‘The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995’, persons with blindness or low vision, hearing impairment and loco motor disability or cerebral palsy with a minimum of 40 per cent of physical defect or deformity are only eligible. You are not coming under these categories; hence you are not eligible either for reservation or for discounted voucher under PWD category.”

Though Mr. Sinha contested this citing the 2010 Delhi High Court order, another mail reiterated that dyslexia was not an acceptable disability for admission. “The PWD Act lists a number of disabilities; however, the IIMs have only approved the following three for admissions: low vision/blindness, hearing impairment, loco motor disability/cerebral palsy,” the mail said.

Having run out of options, he is even ready to write CAT under the general category. “When so many colleges can accept the judgment and give us opportunities, why cant the IIMs? Several top institutes have also started using CAT scores for admissions. I don’t want to lose out on a year because of this confusion. But even to do this (write under the general category), I will have to get a fresh admit card which will specify that I am not under the DA category,” he said.

Decision today

Rohit Kapoor, CAT 2013 convener, in his response to Mr. Sohan’s case, said the IIMs’ stand was that the Act had not been amended as per the Delhi High Court judgment. “We are meeting on Friday to take a decision on this case,” he added.

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