Quota for Mentally Ill in MBBS Admissions: SC Orders NMC to Set Up Assessment Panel
Supreme Court of India - PC : MRP Graphics
Quota for Mentally Ill in MBBS Admissions: The Supreme Court has directed the National Medical Council (NMC) to establish a panel of domain experts to examine a plea for developing new methods of disability assessment for students with mental illnesses, special learning disorders (SLD), and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The purpose is to grant quotas in MBBS admissions for these individuals.

SC Orders NMC to Set Up Assessment Panel

The directive from the apex court comes in response to a petition filed by Vishal Gupta, who was denied reservation in MBBS admissions under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. The grounds for denial were Gupta's reported 55 percent mental disability, which rendered him ineligible for admission to a medical college.

According to the Act, individuals with a disability certified by the authority to be not less than 40 percent are considered to have a "benchmark disability." In such cases, the candidate cannot avail the benefits of reservation in admission.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala acknowledged the arguments put forth by lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal, representing the MBBS aspirant. Bansal contended that individuals with SLD and ASD should not be treated unfairly and deprived of quota benefits under the statute.

The bench took note of the NMC's counsel, who stated that a committee had been constituted to review the regulations on graduate medical education and that the matter was in an advanced stage of deliberation and decision-making.

The court recognized that the grievance of the MBBS aspirant pertained to the assessment of disability for individuals with specific intellectual disabilities like SLD and ASD.

"We believe that the issues raised in these proceedings require consideration by an expert body with specialized knowledge. Therefore, we direct the National Medical Commission to treat the petitioner's grievance in these proceedings as a representation and address it at an appropriate level while dealing with the regulations on graduate medical education," ordered the apex court on May 18.

The court requested to be informed of the decision made, and a status report on the outcome is to be submitted. The plea of Gupta will be further heard on July 17.

In his petition, Gupta mentioned that his mental illness disability, as per the certificate issued by Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals, was 55 percent, and he was facing discrimination.

Gupta's plea stated that the authorities were denying him the opportunity to pursue a medical science course due to his mental illness exceeding 40 percent while also denying him the benefit of the quota available to persons with disabilities under the law, which is provided to MBBS aspirants like him.

"It is respectfully submitted that as per Section 32 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the Respondents are duty-bound to provide at least 5% reservation to persons with benchmark disabilities. In accordance with this, the National Medical Commission provides a PwD quota to MBBS aspirants with benchmark disabilities," the plea stated.

The plea sought a direction against the Centre and other parties, including the NMC, to allow Gupta, who has a benchmark disability, to pursue a medical science course under the PwD Quota.

"It is requested to issue a writ/order/direction in the nature of mandamus against the Respondents, particularly the National Medical Commission, to develop modes/methods of disability assessment for MBBS aspirants with mental illness and declare them eligible for the PwD Quota," it added.