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Re-certification of disabled students by board 'unlawful'

Re-certification of disabled students by board unlawful

Kolkata: Many of the disabled candidates seeking admission in medical colleges undergo 'reassessment or re-certification' by the Disability Assessment Board before taking part in the counseling, which is a gross violation of norms set by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

The Act says that none can alter the level of disability in a patient others than Centre-designated hospitals.

It has been alleged that during the 'reassessment' the Disability Assessment Board is altering the level of the disability in people and also issuing a certificate.

As a result of this the physically-challenged medical aspirants have been denied admission.

Many hospitals across the state are assigned by the government to issue disability certificate to the candidates after a thorough check up.

No organisations or bodies can issue another certificate overturning the previous one. Various government hospitals have the right to issue the certificate for a certain period of time in the completion of which the candidates need to turn up before the medical board of the hospitals for a re-certification. A city-based doctor said that the Madras High Court in an earlier case called the 'reassessment' as unconstitutional.

Many of the disabled candidates from Bengal have alleged that they were often harassed during the 'reassessment' by the Disability Assessment Board.

In many cases, the level of deformity in the candidates has been altered resulting in a failure to secure a seat in medical colleges.

Jane Alam, a medical student in the state with a physical deformity, said: "It is an unlawful practice and the candidates with physical problems have to travel to other states as there are only four such centres in India. The 'reassessment' often has a psychological impact on the candidates as the candidates are harassed. I had been subjected to harassment when I turned up before the Disability Assessment Board."

There are such centres in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi.

Candidates from the other states despite their challenges have to visit any of the four centres to get their deformity level tested. Sushanta Pramanik from the East Midnapore district recently wrote to the NITI Aayog and also the Medical Council of India to draw their attention in this regard. The letters says that no power is given to the MCI or any authority to re-issue a new certificate of disability.

The Disability Assessment Board authority alters the percentage of disability, sometimes by decreasing and sometimes by increasing the percentage. There is no provision of re-evaluation/re-assessment of Disability Certificate.

The letter also states that all certificates such as SC, ST, OBC and PWD etc are available online and verification can be done by clicking a mouse within seconds.

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