Study of disability should be part of college syllabi: Chief justice

Mayura Janwalkar

It is the study of disability that needs to be a part of medical college syllabi and not just the medical condition, chief justice (CJ) Mohit Shah of the Bombay high court said on Saturday. For the first time, the high court interacted with nearly 60 government officers and NGO representatives together to discuss issues related to disabilities. Major General (retd) Ian Cardozo of the Rehabilitation Council of India informed CJ Shah and justice SJ Vajifdar that candidates from the reserved quota for the disabled are often turned down by government doctors. CJ Shah remarked, "We will ask the Medical Council of India to make the study of disability a part of their syllabus.""

Centre to be answerable

Bhushan Punani of the Blind People’s Association said the centre allocates funds for development in the disability field to state governments each year. However, principal secretary of the social justice and welfare department Satish Gavai said these funds are not adequately allocated. The court has issued a show cause notice to the centre.

Technology needed

Advocate Kanchan Pamnani said that of the 3% of government posts reserved for the disabled, 1% are reserved for the visually challenged. Professor Sam Taraporevala made a presentation of various softwares which, if made available by the government, can be used by the visually challenged to enhance their efficiency. "Reservation is meaningless if the software is not provided by the government," CJ Shah said.

What’s in a name?

Due to a difference in nomenclature of central and state government posts reserved for disabled candidates, there is a backlog of 607 posts in the state. Issuing a show cause notice to the state government, the court also sought a compilation of government resolutions, including the resolution of February 2008 that bars blind candidates from teaching in colleges. Advocate Jamshed Mistry said that the government’s decisions need periodical reviews and a time-frame for implementation.
Attitude change needed

Advocate general Ravi Kadam said, "Unless the mindset changes at our end, there is going to be no real change," Kadam said. CJ Shah added, "In the West, legislation mandates testing for disabilities at birth. If it is made compulsory, remedial measures can be taken immediately. I would like the government to consider this very seriously," The court was informed that such detection was a part of the government’s draft action plan.



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