SC asks Delhi University to be more sensitive to blind students

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court has asked Delhi University to look into the grievances of blind students seeking a special course to initiate them into the four year undergraduate course starting in the coming academic year.

The blind students have sought the introduction of a bridge course for teaching Mathematics and Science and Life so that they could pursue foundation course in the second year in the four year format.

Sambhavana, an organisation representing blind students, sought in its petition a bridge course in Mathematics and Science and Life in the first year of the four year degree course.

“It is the need of the present time that the university shall look into the matter and mitigate the grievances of the visually impaired students as far as possible,” said the apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Dipak Misra in their order made available Thursday.

“We have already indicated that we are not experts. But we are disposed to think that the problem has remained unsolved. The same is required to be addressed to in an apposite manner. We do not intend to say that it has not at all been addressed but there has to be more focus, more empathy and more sensitivity”, said the judgment authored by Justice Misra.

The court asked Sambhavana to make a representation airing its grievances and views to the university’s Empowered Committee within three days which in turn would deal with then in a week’s time.

Holding that education was a great hope in the lives of the visually impaired students, the court said: “Thus, the necessity of the visually impaired students should have primacy in the mind of the Empowered Committee.”

“At this juncture, we are obliged to state that though the university had constituted an Empowered Committee and it has experts, yet we are inclined to think that the grievances raised by the appellant organisation relating to visually impaired students require more focus and sensitive approach,” the judgment said.

Pointing out that a visually impaired student is entitled to receive special treatment, the court said that “the university has to…show its concern to redress the grievances in proper perspective”.

“Education for visually impaired students is a great hope for them and such a hope is the brightest bliss in their lives,” the judgment said.

The court said this while disposing off a petition by Sambhavana seeking to introduction of bridge course for Mathematics and Science and Life and the subsequent introduction of foundation course in the second year.

The court declined to stay the introduction of four year undergraduate degree course from the coming academic year.

“Though prayer has been made to restrain the respondent University from introducing the four year under graduate programme with multiple degrees which is the final outcome of the case, we are not inclined to pass any order of stay,” the judgment said.

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