Delhi High Court orders medical examination of applicant with temporary mental illness to assess if he can study MBBS

To relieve a medical aspirant suffering from a temporary mental illness, the Delhi High Court ordered AIIMS to conduct his medical examination and assess whether he is fit to undertake the MBBS/dental course.

The order was passed by a divisional bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Judge Navin Chawla while noting that the regulations issued by the National Medical Commission did not provide for any reservations for people with mental disabilities.

The Applicant had applied to the Tribunal against the certificate of invalidity which had been issued to him by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Delhi, making a Evaluation it is his the handicap is of the order of 40 to 70% and he is “not eligible for admission to medical/dental courses”.

Whereas the Applicant claimed to be a deserving student having ranked 256 in the General category – PwD and having gained admission in B.Sc, Microbiology course at the University of Delhi, he maintained that the Higher Medical Education Regulations 1997 lists mental behavior as one of the types of disability. The specified disability enrolled is mental illness and no booking is provided when the disability is less than 40%.

The Commission justified the same by stating that there is currently no objective method to establish the presence and extent of mental illness. However, the benefit of the reservation/quota may be considered in the future after better methods of handicap assessment have been developed.

The applicant’s lawyer Jai Sahai Endlaw then argued that simply because there is currently no objective method to establish the extent of mental illness, there is no reason to deny the petitioner reservation when tThe disability certificate itself acknowledges that the applicant’s mental illness is temporary. He added that the impugned assessment was only made on the basis of the said regulations, and the said assessment was made on the basis of the applicant’s ability or not to follow the medical course.

The lawyer also referred to a report submitted to the President of the Medical Council of India regarding guidelines for the admission of persons with specified disabilities to medical courses, which recognizes the need for a exam.

The Court noted that although the report was originally prepared in 2019, no review was undertaken and no standard for assessing the extent of disability was established. Furthermore, it has also not been assessed to what extent disability – mental behavior, is allowed for a candidate to pursue the medical course.

It seems your system is intolerant of the disabled,“, had noted orally the Chamber.

He ordered that the applicant may be examined by a team of experts to assess whether or not he is fit to undertake the MBBS/Dental course.

The director may set up a commission to assess the applicant’s condition in the light of this decree. The report is sent to the Tribunal in a sealed envelope no later than the next hearing date,“It’s ordered.

In the meantime, a vacancy is reserved for the applicant under the general category – PwD.

However, the Court clarified that this order is an interim order and will not create any special equity in favor of any party.

The case will now be resumed on April 4.

Case title: Dhruv Tangri v. National Medical Commission

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