National Eligibility Test is scheduled for December 29

In a major relief to people with visual impairment, the Madras High Court on Friday directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to furnish Braille questionnaire to them in the National Eligibility Test (NET) scheduled for December 29.

The results may be withheld pending disposal of a writ petition, the court said.

A Vacation Judge, Justice S. Vaidyanathan, passed the interim order at a special sitting on a petition by a person who was born blind. Besides the direction to furnish Braille questionnaire to the petitioner and similarly placed persons, the judge directed the UGC to fulfil the other conditions mentioned in an office memorandum of February 26 this year of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Disability Affairs, to enable the petitioner and others to participate in the NET.

“If the UGC is not going to provide this, it will amount to clear discrimination. The officials ought to have taken note of the difficulties of the disabled persons and should not have made them run from pillar to post as they are already helpless,” Mr. Justice Vaidyanathan observed.

In the petition filed through counsel Y. Kavitha, the petitioner, Miranda Tomkinson of Ayanavaram here, submitted that he was suffering from Multiple Disabilities with blindness (100 per cent) and hearing impairment which was progressive. He had completed post-graduate courses in Sociology and Public Administration. He was keen to become a Lecturer. He is to take the NET. His repeated representations to UGC to provide Braille questionnaire evoked no response. Hence, the present petition.

In the order, Mr. Justice Vaidyanathan said the Social Justice Ministry’s office memorandum had prescribed certain guidelines which included that persons with disabilities should be given the option of choosing the mode for taking the examinations - in Braille or in the computer or in large print.

He said as the NET was scheduled for December 29, he was issuing the direction to the UGC.

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