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Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 04, 2013
From now, visually impaired students can take help of a reader or a lab assistant fully conversant with the subject while appearing for engineering entrance examination.
Authorities were already providing such help but in many cases the person assisting the candidates did not have much knowledge of the science stream.

The landmark ruling from the Delhi High Court which will go on to help lakhs of such candidates came in a petition filed by one visually challenged class XII student Kartik Sawhney who sought such an assistance when he appears in the joint entrance examination scheduled for April 7, 2013.

“There is force in the submission made by Sawhney that the blind candidates should be provided with scribe/reader/lab assistant for written examinations with science background as a person of commerce and humanity background will either not be in a position to identify, read out the question paper properly or explain the visual inputs to the blind candidates”, justice GS Sistani said.

The court allowed Sawhney to interact with the exam assistant one hour before the exam commenced so that he is able to “familiarize and communicate with him more easier”

Taking into consideration various precaution the government, CBSE and  JEE board recommended before providing such help, the court said “it will be open for the authorities to take all such steps which may be necessary for them to strengthen their invigilation system so that the scribe/reader or lab assistant does not indulge in any malpractices like helping in copying or cheating”.

Sawhney said without assistance of  persons who do not know the subject, they would not be in a position to understand the questions properly “which would result in serious prejudice to the rights of the petitioner and similarly situated persons.”

Till now the government had maintained that such students can also be given help of  a person with commerce and humanities background as they will have  basic knowledge of science and mathematics.