Showing posts with label Guidelines for availing Scribes/ Writer by Blind students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guidelines for availing Scribes/ Writer by Blind students. Show all posts

Monday, July 10, 2023

Karnataka HC- During the exam, facility of Scribe and Option of objective type questions can be availed by other disabilities too, not just by candidates with hearing impairment.

Court: Karnataka High Court, India

Bench: The Hon'ble Mr. Prasanna B. Varale, Chief Justice and The Hon'ble Mr. Justice M.G.S. Kamal

Case No: Writ Appeal No. 722 OF 2023 

Case Title: Karnataka State Law University Vs.  Krishna

Date of Judgement: 10-07-2023


The Karnataka High Court dismissed an appeal filed by the Karnataka State Law University challenging a single bench order directing it to conduct III Semester exam for a differently abled Law student, by providing objective type of questions instead of descriptive type of questions.

It said that the overall object of the MSJE Exam Guidelines for persons with disabilities  needs to be appreciated which is providing opportunity for all to participate in the mainstream education system and that there is no stringent distinction based on the nature of disability in Exam Guidelines for alternative objective exam for students with disabilities.

Krishna, having 46% overall impairment affecting both brain and eyes, is pursuing his five years integrated law degree at Vaikunta Baliga Law College. Since he was unable to write by hand as such for the I Semester exam he utilized the facility of scribe. He was, however, informed by the college that unless permission was granted by the University, it cannot permit him to take the help of a scribe for examinations in future.

Accordingly, he made a representation to the appellant-University requesting for objective questions instead of descriptive questions and to utilize the help of a scribe in view of his disability. However, no action was taken on the representation constraining him to file a writ petition before the High Court.

The Court disposed of his petition while directing the University to consider the grievance and pass appropriate orders. Following which the University partly allowed the representation and rejected the request to provide objective questions instead of descriptive questions.

Thus the student again approached the Court which took note of the relevant guidelines issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) making provision for providing objective questions instead of descriptive questions to the disabled students. Court declined to accept the contention of the appellant-University that the provision is applicable only to the students having hearing impairment.

It held, “Section 2(r) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 `persons with bench mark disability’ means person with not less than 40% of specified disability, where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms as certified by the certifying authority."

Further, it directed the University to subject the student to medical examination by Chief Medical Officer/Civil Surgeon/Medical Superintendent of the Government Health Care Institution and if it is certified that the respondent is suffering from low vision to the extent of 40% or more, provide objective questions instead of descriptive questions.

The University in appeal argued that as per the guidelines, alternative objective questions can be provided only for those students who are are person with hearing impairment and not to persons  from any other disabilities. In the instant case since the student is not a person with hearing impairment but with a visual impairment and mental retardation, it contended that the benefit of the aforesaid provision cannot be extended. It was also submitted that since the student is suffering from mental retardation, objective questions which requires reasoning and intellectual skill cannot be provided.

A division bench said, “The overall object of the guidelines needs to be appreciated which is providing opportunity for all to participate in the mainstream education system. There cannot be any strict and stringent distinction on the basis of the nature of ailment. The purpose is to facilitate the specially abled persons to participate in the examination within the limits provided under the guidelines subject to required compliance in the nature of obtaining certificates from the competent authorities"

It added “Viewed from the said object, learned Single Judge taking note of the provisions describing persons with disability as provided under Section 2(r) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 has directed the appellant-University to subject the respondent for medical examination by Chief Medical Officer/Civil Surgeon/Medical Superintendent of the Government Health Care Institution and only if it is certified that the respondent is suffering from low vision to the extent of 40% or more, to provide objective questions instead of descriptive questions to the respondent in the ensuing examination.”

Accordingly the bench dismissed the appeal filed by the Karnataka State Law University. Read the Judgement below:

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Supreme Court directs Consortium of National Law Universities to provide Scribe to those who are unable to find scribe, among other reliefs.

Court: Supreme Court of India

Bench:  Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India; Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, Justice  and  J B Pardiwala, Justice

Case Number: Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1109 of 2022

Case Title: Arnab Roy Versus Consortium of National Law Universities & Anr.

Date of Judgement: 17 March 2023

Cases Reffered: 

 1. Vikash Kumar Vs Union Public Service Commission & Ors.


The petitioner,  a lawyer and a disability rights activist, moved these proceedings under Article 32 of the Constitution of India challenging certain conditions which were imposed for the conduct of the Common Law Admission Test 2023 scheduled on 18 December 2022. The issue specifically addressed by the petitioner relates to the facilities for candidates who intend to avail of a scribe as the restrictive conditons have been imposed belatedly just four weeks before the exams which in turn would mean that atleast 13 visually impaired candidates would not be able to avail the scribe. This included denial of the right to a scribe to candidates who do not have a benchmark disability though they have a genuine difficulty in writing.

The Supreme Court bench  in this matter has taken a progressive stance while dealing with the Examination Guidelines to ensure equal opportunities for candidates with disabilities in the LL.B admissions process particularly about provisions for necessary accommodations and support to participate in the CLAT examination . 

The bench clarified that candidates appearing for the CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) examination conducted by Consortium of National Law Universities can either bring their own scribe or if it is not possible to do so, request the Consortium to provide a scribe who is then made available to the candidate.  Where the candidates are unable to find their own scribe and the Consortium provides a scribe, at least two days’ time should be provided so as to enable the candidate to interact with the scribe, directed the court.

The bench, headed by the Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud  passed several directions to guarantee that candidates with disabilities receive all the facilities specified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,Govt. of India. The Court accepted the suggestion of the petitioner and emphasized the importance of issuing guidelines well in advance, ensuring clarity regarding the facilities available for candidates with disabilities.

Additionally, the bench also directed the consortium to align their guidelines with the official memorandum issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. While there were concerns that the condition of scribes not being involved in coaching for other competitive exams would limit the availability of scribes, the Court has allowed the consortium's request to ensure the sanctity of the CLAT exam. However, it also highlighted that the nature and contents of the Examination Guidelines cannot be frozen for the future. The Consortium would be at liberty to modify the Guidelines bearing in mind the exigencies of the situation and the constantly evolving nature of the knowledge and experience gained in conducting CLAT particularly in the context of the rights of PwD candidates.

This judgement is a significant step towards promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities in legal education. The Consortium of NLUs was established to enhance the standards of legal education and coordination among National Law Schools, and this decision aligns with their objective.

This judgement will undoubtedly create a more inclusive and fair admission process for aspiring law students with disabilities in line with the intention of the legislature behind passing the RPWD Act 2016.

Monday, June 29, 2015

UPSC discriminates against disabled in Civil Services Exam - PIL

HC notice on PIL on quota for disabled in civil services exam
Last Updated: Saturday, June 20, 2015 - 00:58

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre and UPSC on a plea by an organisation for disabled persons seeking quashing of the civil services exam notification alleging non-implementation of statutory three per cent quota for handicapped persons.

A bench of justices Mukta Gupta and P S Teji issued notice to the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and sought their reply by July 15 on the plea by Sambhavana which has alleged non-compliance of high court's orders.

Sambhavana has claimed that as per the examination notice, approximately 1129 vacancies are expected to be filled, out of which only five vacancies have been reserved for candidates with visual impairment, whereas the Supreme Court in 2013 had held that three per cent reservation on total number of vacancies in the cadre strength have to be reserved against candidates with disabilities.

In its PIL filed through advocates Pankaj Sinha and Nupur Grover, Sambhavana has alleged "blatant disregard" on the part of the central government and UPSC for neither following high court's orders nor complying with provisions of the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act.

"The examination is also being conducted in contravention of the guidelines for conducting written examination for Persons with Disabilities notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which have also been held to be mandatorily followed in various judgements passed by this court," the petition has said.

Besides not implementing the quota, it has said UPSC also did not adopt the exam writing policy for disabled on the basis of guidelines of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD).

It has claimed that due to non-implementation of the high court's directions, disabled aspirants are unable to give exams in an accessible environment.

The organisation has said that as per the PWD Act, it is the statutory obligation of the government to "appoint not less than three per cent vacancies for the persons or class of persons with disabilities".

"This implies that the minimum level of representation of persons with disabilities deals with the distribution of this three per cent among the three categories of disabilities namely, blind and low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disabled or cerebral palsy and hence, one per cent of seats should be reserved for each of the said categories," it has said.

"It is pertinent to note that in the impugned examination notice, the three per cent reservation has not been adequately meted out by Respondent No. 2 (UPSC) and hence, discrimination on the basis of blindness has been clearly shown," the plea has said.

The petition has sought equal bifurcation of the vacancies amongst the three categories as well as directions to the government and UPSC to implement the executive order of Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, with respect to "uniform guidelines for scribes for persons with disabilities."

It has also sought "filling up of all backlog vacancies of persons with disabilities arising since 1996 till date".  

PTI/ Zee News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Delhi HC directs UPSC to distribute vacancies equally [Judgement included)

Dear Colleages,

Please refer to my earlier post titled "Two High Courts direct Extra time, reasonable accommodation & reservation in CSE 2014" whererin writ petition was filed before the Delhi High Court as well as Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of UPSC's Notification Civil Services Examination 2014 on the grounds that it was against the rights of persons with visual impairments granted by the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995. 

While my earlier post contained the judgement of the case filed in Mumbai High Court and an interim order in the case filed in Delhi High Court, this post contains the final order passed in the case before the Delhi High Court bearing  WP (C) No. 3919 of 2014 titled Sambhavana Vs. Union of India and others dated 04 March 2015.

Directions by the Court 

(a) the respondent no.2 UPSC shall find out from the respective Cadre Controlling Authorities the reason for allocating the vacancies in excess of 3% unequally between the three categories aforesaid.

(b) if the Cadre Controlling Authorities are unable to give any valid reason, the vacancies in excess of 3% shall also be equally distributed between the persons with disability of all three categories and the appointments in pursuance to the Employment Notice impugned in the petition shall be made accordingly.

(c) Relief claimed seeking issuance of a direction to the respondents to comply with the Office Order dated 26th February, 2013 supra is concerned, we had in our order dated 19 th August, 2014 held that the guidelines contained therein were issued as per the directions of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities who is an Authority appointed under Section 57(1) of the Act and cannot be treated as mere executive instructions and the said guidelines having been issued for effective implementation of the provisions of the Disabilities Act, have statutory force and are bound to be implemented by all Departments and Authorities. No arguments whatsoever were addressed on the said aspect by the learned counsel for the respondents during the hearing of the writ petition and therefore, we hold with respect to the said prayer that the respondent no.2 - UPSC shall abide by the said guidelines for all times to come unless the same are varied in accordance with law.