Certificates issued by the district board required to be examined by a team comprising experts in all fields: DME

The Madras High Court has upheld a clause in the MBBS admission prospectus with regard to confirmation of district medical board’s certificates of percentage of disability by an expert team at the time of counselling.

The district medical officers assessed the disability of a person in the absence of a uniform scale. The selection committee was therefore fully correct in incorporating a provision with regard to confirmation of disability certificate of the district medical board, the court said.

Justice K.K.Sasidharan passed the common order on writ petitions filed by four physically challenged MBBS/BDS applicants for 2013-14 under the differently-abled quota.

The petitioners T.Nalini and others submitted that they had 60 per cent, 40 per cent and 70 per cent disability. They had obtained certificates from the district medical board and appeared for counselling. They were directed to appear before an expert team constituted by the Director of Medical Education (DME) to assess the percentage of their disability. They were denied admission in view of the expert panel’s finding. Hence, they said the relevant clause in the prospectus with regard to a second examination by a team to decide the percentage of disability should be quashed and they be admitted to the course.

The petitioners contended that once a disability certificate was issued by the district board, it was not open for the selection committee to subject the candidates to a fresh medical examination.

The DME countered stating that certificates issued by the district board required to be examined by a team comprising experts in all fields. Therefore, there was nothing wrong in subjecting the candidates to a fresh examination. Ineligibility under the differently-abled quota would be either on account of disability exceeding 70 per cent or less than 40 per cent.

Mr.Justice Sasidharan said since the petitioners made serious allegations that they were not examined in detail by the expert team, he directed the DME to constitute a special medical team to examine the petitioners. It found that the four were not qualified for selection under the orthopaedically disabled quota. The certificates produced by the petitioners indicated that in some cases, subject experts were not available.

As a result, available members of the board assessed the disability. Some of the medical boards did not have orthopaedic experts. The casual manner of issuing certificates would give an impression that all was not well in the matter of assessing disability. In case, the district medical board was not having the benefits of experts in all the fields, no reliance could be placed on such documents to claim reservation benefits. The candidates were from different districts. Percentage of disability was not assessed uniformly.

As the selection committee should adopt a uniform procedure in assessing disability, the government incorporated a clause in the prospectus that disability certificates obtained from district board would be subjected to confirmation by an expert committee constituted by the DME during counselling.

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