Recent judgement passes by the High Court on 16th February 2018, It is the case of Manif Alam Vs. Indian Institute of Technology and Ors.
The petitioner (Manif Alam) , a physically-disabled student enrolled in M.Sc. Mathematics in Indian Institute of Technology(Respondent No. 1), Delhi in academic year 2017-18, being aggrieved by order issued by Indian Institute of Technology Institute whereby his name has been struck-off from the student rolls of Respondent No. 1-Institute immediately after the end of first semester of academic session 2017-18, has filed the suit in the present Court seeking an order and a direction to the Respondent No. 1 University to reinstate him as a regular student and allow him to continue his second semester in the said course. The petitioner pleads in the court that disability is not his excuse but neither its hid choice.
The facts of the case are that the Manif, who suffers from 50% locomotor disability, had secured admission in M.Sc. Mathematics in the Respondent-Institute under the reserved category of PWD (Persons with Disabilities) for the academic year 2017-18 through a common entrance test i.e. Joint Admission Test for M.Sc. Mathematics conducted by the Institute. In the Joint Admission Test, Manif secured 23.43 out of the allotted total of 100 marks clearing the minimum cut-off of 9.76 declared by the Institute for the Differently Abled Category and also secured an All India Rank of 1647. Upon enrolment in M.Sc. Mathematics, the petitioner started attending the classes of the first semester from 24.07.2017 and appeared in the examinations of the first semester that were held from 18.11.2017 to 23.11.2017, the result whereof was declared on 09.01.2018 wherein not only was the Petitioner declared as ‘failed‘ as he secured an SGPA of only 2.75 against the requirement of 4.00 SGPA but his name was also struck-off from the Institute Rolls with effect from the end of the 1st Semester of the Academic year 2017-18 on account of his poor performance in the course.
Arguing for the Petitioner, Mr. Rashid Azam, submits that the Respondents have struck off the name of Manif rolls without giving him any opportunity to clear the backlog. He further submits that irrespective of the Rules contained in the brochure, the Institute ought to have kept in mind the provisions of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and that the rules made by the Institute are in any event delegated legislation therefore being subordinate to the statutes enacted by the Parliament. He also submits that once the petitioner was granted admission under the Reserved Category of PWD (Persons with Disabilities) by using a relaxed criteria, it was incumbent for the Institute to treat such ‘PWD’ with compassion and grant him an opportunity to improve his performance.
Manif Alam further pleaded that he belongs to a very humble humble background, that his father died at a very young age and he could only attend Hindi medium education and the lectures held in institute are in English which makes it difficult for him and understand and hence he scored less marks.
Institute failed to setup any mechanism to facilitate the education of the ‘Persons with Disability’ has gravely prejudiced the Petitioner’s education and performance in the institute. In support of his plea that there is an obligation on the institution to provide adequate facilities to physically disabled persons like the petitioner to cope with the high academic standards of the Institution by keeping in view the fact that they were able to join Institutes like the respondent only because of reservation. Learned counsel for the Petitioner further submits that though the petitioner had faced a similar issue of the lectures being conducted in English while studying in Delhi University, he had overcome the same with the help of the ‘Equal Opportunity Cell’ and had graduated in B.Sc. (Hons.) securing 63.96% marks. He, thus, contends that it was the lack of facilities like the Equal Opportunity Cell, that led to the inadequate performance of the Petitioner, who otherwise has always been a very accomplished student in the past.
Section 16 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which reads as under:-
“16. Duty of educational institutions.-The appropriate Government and the local authorities shall endeavour that all educational institutions funded or recognised by them provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities and towards that end shall-
(i) admit them without discrimination and provide education and opportunities for sports and recreation activities equally with others;
(ii) make building, campus and various facilities accessible;
(iii) provide reasonable accommodation according to the individual’s requirements;
(iv) provide necessary support individualised or otherwise in environments that maximize academic and social development consistent with the goal of full inclusion;
(v) ensure that the education to persons who are blind or deaf or both is imparted in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication;
(vi) detect specific learning disabilities in children at the earliest and take suitable pedagogical and other measures to overcome them;
(vii) monitor participation, progress in terms of attainment levels and completion of education in respect of every student with disability;
(viii) provide transportation facilities to the children with disabilities and also the attendant of the children with disabilities having high support needs.”
Expulsion of a student upon his failure to achieve the prescribed grade, without even giving him any opportunity to even give an explanation for his failure to meet the prescribed criteria would definitely be a violation of principles of natural justice. Every student with disability cannot be expelled without giving further opportunity to attain necessary levels, Therefore the Court ordered the Institute to Re-admit Manif on immediate basis and also provide extra coaching to him if he requires.