Plea Seeking Equal Participation Of Specially Abled In Online Mode Of Study & Exams: Supreme Court Directs To Serve Centre

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Supreme Court today, while hearing a plea seeking enforcement of Fundamental Rights under Article 14 & 21 of specially abled students, with regards to conduct of online classes/examination by Educational Institutions, allowed the petitioner to serve notice on the Central Agencies.

A Full Bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice JK Maheshwari[1] heard the matter today. 

“While persons with disabilities have been struggling in every field during this pandemic and the issues of lack of digital accessibility and exclusion of persons with disabilities have never stared us at our face as during these times, the question of introducing inclusive technologies for a post COVID world in the field of education is the most crucial owing to the impact it would have on generations to come,” the plea states.

Brief Grounds preferred by the petitioner:

  1. Denial of reasonable accommodation for accessing online education against students with disabilities, violates Section 2(h) of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, thus infringing Article 14 of the Constitution.
  2. Conduct of Online classes without acknowledging the challenges faced by students with disabilities, violative of Article 21, Right to Life.
  3. Unless the Government takes positive measures to ensure that students with disabilities are able to enjoy and exercise their rights equally with others, the present system of education remains discriminatory as also violative of Right to life.
  4. RPWD Act creates an obligation upon the State to take positive measures in the interest of persons with disability. (Refer section 16 & 17 of the Act)
  5. Not facilitating the needs of students with disability – utter disregard of Right to Life with dignity.

Reliance is inter-alia placed on, Section 2(h), Section 8, Section 16 and Section 17 of Rights Of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, Jeeja Ghosh v. Union of India, (2016) 7 SCC 761, Disabled Rights Group v. Union of India & Ors., (2018) 2 SCC 397.

Also Read: “Challenges of specially abled magnified during pandemic”: Plea in Supreme Court seeks steps to ensure equal participation in online classes & exams

Case Title: Javed Abidi Foundation v. Union of India

[1] Elevated to the Supreme Court today; 31.08.2021 – Parent High Court: Madhya Pradesh