NEW DELHI: At a time when the country’s lawmakers are favouring equal representation of persons with disability, a high court judgment will boost the morale of students facing similar predicament. The court found Delhi University’s admission criteria for such candidates “unsustainable”, directing the University to grant admission to a physically challenged Phd candidate, who had secured 63 marks.
Justice V Kameswar Rao directed the university to grant admission to the petitioner under the persons with disabilities (PwD) category in the PhD programme of Department of Buddhist Studies. “In the given facts, the petitioner is entitled to cost, which is quantified at Rs 10,000 to be paid by the respondents,” the court ruled.
The candidate, suffering from 77% disability in his lower limbs, appeared for a written entrance exam on July 12. Following the test, 47 students qualified, out of which 17 belonged in the general category, 9 in other backward castes, 16 in scheduled castes and 4 in the scheduled tribes category. The petitioner claimed he was the only one to qualify in the written exam in the PWD category.
A final list of qualified candidates after the round of interview was out on August 30 in which 20 candidates had been offered admission. Much to his disappointment, the disabled candidate was denied admission under the PwD category. Several of his representation to the authorities concerned fell on deaf ears, driving him to move the Delhi HC.
The bifurcation of marks for the category under which the petitioner appeared was 100 for the entrance exam and 50 for the interview. The interview was assessed on topic representation (25 marks) and a 25-marks interview. The university claimed that though the petitioner secured 61 marks in the entrance exam, he could score only 2 marks in the interview. In order to qualify for a seat, the university said candidates under the PWD category required 70 marks.
The petitioner had drawn a parallel with another candidate who had scored similar marks in the interview. Another candidate, the petitioner pointed out, had scored 63 marks in the written exam but was granted admission in the general category.
After looking at the selection committee’s minutes, the court pointed that the cut-off marks were prescribed after the interviews were held. The court reasoned that there were other students who have scored 63 marks in the written exam and given admission in the general category.