The Delhi High Court Friday sought the response of the Centre and National Medical Commission (NMC) on a plea by five differently-abled MBBS students challenging a provision that restricts the maximum number of attempts to four to clear the first year of examination. A bench of Chief Justice S C Sharma and Justice Yashwant Varma granted 10 days to the Centre, through the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, NMC, and three Haryana colleges to file their replies and listed the matter for further hearing on October 7.
The petitioners have also sought to quash the office orders passed by their respective medical colleges of Haryana by which their MBBS admissions have been cancelled and urged for restoring of the admissions. The high court also directed the petitioners to file details of their admissions along with dates, the number of attempts taken in which they have failed, and their scorecards.
The petitioners, who were admitted to medical colleges in the academic year 2019-20, through advocate Jeetender Gupta, challenged the November 2019 Regulations on Graduate Medical Education (Amendment), 2019 issued by NMC. The plea stated that these Regulations were notified on November 4, 2019, and have restricted the maximum number of attempts to four to clear the first year exams. Consequently, the names of these students had been struck off from their respective medical colleges or universities.
It also referred to provisions of the Rights to Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, which put them on a different footing, and said that the authorities have failed to ensure the implementation of these provisions in letter and spirit. The petitioners said they have secured seats in the MBBS course despite their disabilities and the action of respondents will close the doors to becoming independent and earning their livelihood as medical professionals.
The petitioners contended that they are disabled candidates and need special protection and that the regulation was being applied retrospectively. They sought to grant a mercy chance in the form of an additional examination attempt to them.
Advocate T Singhdev, representing NMC, said the outer limit for completing the MBBS course is 10 years and if the petitioners have been unable to even qualify the first year after 3 years, they can’t complete the MBBS course in the given time frame. He said there are judgements that have supported the outer limits prescribed for completing various professional courses. He submitted that there is a reservation for disabled candidates at the entry point of admission but thereafter all of them have to qualify for the exams in the same way as general / SC / ST students for the teaching and training of MBBS.