At a time when institutions are being made more disabled-friendly, the Maharashtra Council for Occupational and Physiotherapy (MCOP) has come out with draft guidelines stating that a blind as well as deaf and dumb candidates ineligible for admission to Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (BOTh) and Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPTh) courses.
The draft guidelines are based on a report submitted by a three-member expert committee, the Bombay high court was informed by additional government pleader GW Mattos on Tuesday.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Khar resident, Kritika Purohit.
The expert committee has held that students learn keen observational skills in these courses, and it is necessary to identify and grade impairment qualitatively to chalk out an effective treatment programme.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi directed the state government to take into consideration the directives of the chief commissioner to treat all handicapped at par, and the willingness of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to support blind candidates.
MUHS, which conducts examinations for the courses, has expressed willingness to provide support to blind candidates admitted to both courses.
The Ruparel college student had moved the high court last year after Directorate of Technical Education turned down her application to appear for the Common Entrance Test for professional medical courses, as she was visually impaired.
Her counsel Kanchan Pamnani pointed out that the state was applying guidelines framed by the Medical Council of India (MCI) although BOTh and BPTh courses do not fall within its purview.
The state strongly opposed the matter stating a completely blind person cannot be admitted to the courses by going against the MCI guidelines.