In a major victory for candidates with disabilities aspiring to become doctors, the Union Health Ministry amended the controversial Medical Council of India’s (MCI) guidelines debarring admissions to people with specific disabilities. 75 doctors with disabilities from across the country had submitted representation to frame new guidelines.
Dr Satendra Singh, who lead this advocacy group had also filed writ petition in the Supreme Court appealing to quash these guidelines. The ministry in its response to the SC query accepted the MCI guidelines with several amendments benefiting candidates with disabilities. The ministry rejected the MCI recommendation that learning disability is not quantifiable. Upholding the assessment guidelines notified earlier by the Ministry of Social Justice, the Health Ministry allowed people with learning disabilities (dyslexia) of 40% or more to pursue medical education in disability quota which were earlier not eligible in previous guidelines.
The Health Ministry acknowledged the representation of ‘Doctors with disabilities’ on record which cited instances of individual doctors with more than 80% disability in India (many of these were signatories) who excelled in their disciplines in spite of the disabilities which would otherwise have been not allowed by MCI.
Dr Singh said, “It was a major embarrassment to the AIIMS rehabilitation ‘expert’ who limited the abilities of people with disabilities up to 80% only. This has been amended now to provide equal level field to such candidates to excel in medical profession.
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