Kritika Purohit (17) has always wanted to be a physiotherapist, but she was denied admission to the Bachelor of Physiotherapy course at Seth G.S. Medical College, Parel, because she is vision-impaired.
She moved the Bombay High Court earlier this year, determined to secure as eat. The court last week asked the college to freeze a seat for her and said she could attend lectures until her petition was decided.
On Monday, her case received another boost, with the court directing the college (at the KEM Hospital campus) to give her provisional admission for the four-year course. The provisional admission will be subject to the court’s final decision.
Criticising the state government, the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari also directed the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) and the chief commissioner of disability, Central government, to frame a policy/guidelines in three months for admission of differently abled students in professional medical courses.
These have to be circulated to all colleges and universities in the state.
“You (government) need to change your mindset that the facility is not available. You will have to start somewhere,” said Justice Dharmadhikari.
G.W. Mattos, additional government pleader, told the court they did not have any issue against Kritika’s admission. “However, MUHS has refused registration to her. In view of this, there is little we can do,” he said, adding they would once again put up the matter before MUHS.
The advocate for the college contended they did not have specialized faculty to teach Kritika.
Kanchan Pamnani, Kritika’s advocate, argued that the Xavier’s Resource Centre for Visually Challenged (XRCVC) has all the necessary resources required for her studies, and said specialised teachers were not required for regular lectures.
“As far as support for practicals is concerned, there are organizations like XRCVC. It’s not as if the government cannot do it. It’s just that they don’t want to do it,” said Pamnani.
The Chief Justice said the college could take Kritika’s example as a case study and make the required changes. “You start with her. She will provide you the material (with the help of XRCVC).”