The Bombay high court has come to the rescue of physically handicapped students who wish to pursue a medical education. The court last week asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to frame appropriate guidelines for the assessment of disability of candidates to determine their fitness for pursuing graduate or post-graduate medical courses.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Niteen Jamdar felt the necessity of framing guidelines after finding that physically handicapped candidates were being examined either only to the extent of affected body parts and functional disability in relation to their whole body or percentage of disability as if the candidates were to go for some hard labour work.
The court came across the apathetic approach of medical officers towards physically handicapped candidates during the hearing of a petition filed by Dr Annasaheb Kadam.
Kadam has completed his MBBS degree course and now wants to pursue a post-graduate medical course. He approached the high court through advocate Pooja Thorat after the medical board of All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AIIPMR) issued two certificates giving two different percentages of disability.
Kadam was examined by a team of doctors from AIIPMR on March 21 and after his examination, the team issued two certificates — one fixing the percentage of disability at 25% and the other fixing it at 50%.
Though Kadam was called three days later and re-examined with doctors stating that there was a mistake in the certificates issued to him earlier, the judges found that this explanation was not satisfactory.
The judges felt that doctors were required to state in the certificate whether the candidate was medically fit to undergo a professional training course despite his/her disability. This is to ensure doctors clinically examine candidates and determine percentage of disability in relation to the whole body and not just the affected part.