The Bombay high court on Monday directed the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) to grant writers to all the 400 students with learning disabilities (LD), who are appearing for Class 10 and Class 12 examinations, starting from April 9.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation in the form of a letter written to the court by two psychiatrists.
The letter stated that on March 25, parents of children with LD received a letter from the NIOS, saying the students will not be granted a writer, but will be granted extra time instead.
The court said students with LD such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder, among others will be granted a writer for their exam.
The court further said these students already have obtained disability certificates from the three authorised centres in Mumbai and that there should not be a need to mention the percentage of disability for granting a writer.
The court has also directed ministries of education, health, social justice and empowerment to ensure that authorities take necessary steps to bring out awareness of problems of students with LD and they should be detected and remedial action and facilities should be provided to them.
After being told that there are only three learning disability centres in the city at Sion, Nair and JJ hospitals, the court said the state should set up more such institutes in the state. The court also said at least one such centre should be set up in every district.
The court has directed the state to issue instructions to all schools in the state to identify LD in students at the age of eight. The state should conduct suitable awareness and training programmes for teachers to asses early symptoms of LD, the court said.
The HC has asked the state and the Centre to file their replies within four weeks.