Consider disabled students’ grievances, HC tells DU

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the Empowered Committee of Delhi University (DU) to take into consideration the grievances of disabled students before implementing the four-year undergraduate programme with multiple degrees.

A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath also asked the vice chancellor of DU to take a decision and file a report before the court on the issue.

The counsel for DU told the court that an empowered committee has been constituted to look into various grievances and suggestions for the four-year undergraduate programme.

The committee will consider the special needs of the students with disabilities and the petitioner can give his grievances for consideration, the lawyers said.

The court in its order said: “In view of the submissions made by the counsel for Delhi University, the petitioner is given liberty to put forth all his grievances in writing to the said committee. We direct the committee to consider them by June 15 and submit its decision before the vice chancellor, who subsequently will file a report in the court by July 3.”

The court’s order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging DU’s proposed four-year undergraduate programme with multiple degrees in its present form.

DU is to implement the four-year undergraduate programme from its next academic session in July this year.

The proposed course, if introduced in its present form, will cause “irreparable loss” to students with impaired vision, advocate Pankaj Sinha, appearing for the petitioner society Sambhavana, told the court.

Sambhavana, which works for the welfare of disabled students, said: “If the four-year undergraduate programme with multiple degrees is introduced in its present form, students with vision impairment will suffer irreparable loss as they shall not be able to participate in the mainstream education system.”

“Students with visual impairment are presently exempted from studying science and mathematics after Class 8 in some cases and after Class 10 in most cases,” the petition said.

“In case the existing approved programme is implemented, such students shall not be able to meet the requirements of the foundation course in the first year of the four-year undergraduate programme which contains a bouquet of 11 courses, including Building Mathematical Ability and Science and Life as mandatory,” the petition added.

It asked the court to direct DU to introduce a “bridge course programme” for mathematics and science for students with vision impairment so they could also be given a level-playing field to pursue the foundation course as prescribed in the first year.

The petition said: “A large number of students with vision impairment seek admission in Delhi University every year. They cannot be deprived of studying the foundation course on an equal basis with other students. Therefore, a provision of the bridge course should be followed by the foundation course in second year of the said programme.”

“The four-year undergraduate programme with multiple degrees does not take into consideration the concern of the students with vision impairment, therefore, the same is arbitrary and illegal, hence discriminatory,” it said.

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