Taking note of a decision by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) to stop providing writers for Class 10 and Class 12 students with learning disabilities, the Bombay high court converted a letter it received to a suo motu public interest litigation.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice Girish Kulkarni converted a letter from two psychiatrists, Dr Harish Shetty and Dr Sanghanayak Meshram, into a suo motu public interest litigation and issued notices to NIOS regional director, Pune , the Central and state governments, and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The bench has posted the PIL for urgent hearing on April 6, as the Class 10 exam will begin on April 10.
Just days ahead of the exams, the NIOS said it will give the registered students extra time, but not writers.
Dr Meshram personally presented the letter to the bench on Tuesday. He said the NIOS’ decision was conveyed through a letter to the parents of such students.
Both the mental health professionals said the NIOS board suddenly withdrew the facility, even though its bye-laws laid down a provision for writers for students with learning disabilities such as autism, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, mental retardation and slow learning. The letter said a 2013 circular of the Union Social Justice and Empowerment ministry also laid down similar provisions.
The NIOS’ decision has left the parents of such students worried. They said as the NIOS provided writers for the March 2014 and October 2014 exams, their children had only prepared to answer the questions orally to a writer.
On Monday, NIOS said it will provide writers only for students who can prove 40% or more disability.