Disabled student deemed unfit for MBBS, Bombay HC calls for medical re-exam
The student was issued a certificate declaring him ineligible for MBBS courses, but the Bombay HC has ordered a re-examination from the All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AIIPMR).
Based on a petition from a NEET candidate who was disqualified for MBBS admission as he does not have fingers on his right hand, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has called for a re-medical examination. Ajinkya Budle, who secured the 190th rank in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) 2022 in the persons with disabilities (PwD) category, had approached the court after he was deemed ineligible to pursue the undergraduate medical course by a NEET medical board. The court on Monday, October 17, referred to the Medical Council of India (now replaced by National Medical Commission or NMC) guidelines in its order. As per the guidelines, a candidate cannot be eligible to study medicine if their “dominant upper limb” — presumed to be the right hand in most people — doesn’t have a thumb which disallows them from holding an object satisfactorily. Ajinkya’s lawyer, however, has argued that he has a well developed left hand as his dominant upper limb, and contended that there is no rule that the right hand must be treated as the dominant upper limb for everyone.
Ajinkya’s locomotor disability has been calculated at 60%. This falls within the disability range (40 to 80%) which makes a candidate eligible for both PwD quota and pursuing a medical course. However, he was recently asked by the NMC to appear for disability certificate revalidation. While his disability was calculated as 60% again, on October 4, Ajinkya was issued a certificate of disability by a medical board at Grant Government Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals in Mumbai, declaring him not eligible to pursue the medical course as per NMC norms.
The High Court order dated October 17 notes that while the petitioner does not have five fingers to his right hand, there is no disability in his left hand. It notes that as per Medical Council of India guidelines for admission of persons with specified disabilitiese, for candidates having locomotor disability, “involvement of a single upper limb which is the DOMINANT UPPER LIMB (which is right upper limb in a majority of persons) to an extent that the candidate has loss of thumb, cannot hold an object satisfactorily, would not be eligible for the medical course.”
However, Ajinkya’s advocate has insisted that the petitioner has “a well developed left hand as his dominant upper limb. The palm of the right hand can also be used, which does not have any finger,” the order noted. It also added that the petitioner has said that there is “no rule that every right hand of each person would always be treated as the dominant upper limb.” The petitioner’s lawyer has contended that his dominant upper limb is his left hand, the court noted.
While the Grant Government Medical College is on the list of disability certification centers as per NMC norms, the court noted that All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AIIPMR) is a dedicated center for locomotor disability only. “As such, we find some hope in favour of the petitioner Ajinkya keeping in view that his left hand has become his dominant upper limb... Therefore, we deem it appropriate to refer the case of the petitioner Ajinkya to AIIPMR for re-medical examination,” the court said in its order.
The court has asked for the medical exam to be conducted on October 19, and asked for the report to be submitted by October 20. The matter has been posted to October 21.