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Friday, November 11, 2011

A sweet victory after tough battle for this medico


The first part of her dream has come true. Divya P. finally has a medical seat.

On Monday, she finally received an allotment order admitting her for first-year MBBS course at Dharmapuri Medical College. Even as she packs her bags, she talks about how happy she is, though a trifle sad at leaving her family behind. The victory tastes sweeter because of the tough battle that preceded it.

Divya has kyphoscoliosis, a deformity of the spine, which left her with one short leg. Her problems started when it was not considered a ‘disability' sufficient for her to be included under the disabled quota for medical admissions. She had the necessary marks, just not the ‘right kind' of disability for a medical seat.

According to the Selection Committee, Directorate of Medical Education, she was denied admission under the special category on the ground that she did not suffer locomotor disability in her lower limbs.

Aided by voluntary organisations that sought to help her and create precedence with the case, Divya found the Madras High Court coming to her rescue.

Her lawyer R. Prabhakaran, who worked pro bono in the case, argued that under the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, locomotor disability includes not only lower limbs, but includes a disability in the spine. He prayed that the PWD Act be given a liberal construction.

The judge ruled in her favour and the selection committee hurried to set right its perceived wrong, issuing her an allotment order within a week. With the aid of voluntary organisations again, she has managed to pay her fees of Rs.12,290 and is ready to go to college, though a bit belatedly.
Raring to go

“Going a month after college has started is going to be a disadvantage, I know. I must have missed the practicals, especially in anatomy. However, with hard work, I'm hoping to catch up with the rest,” Divya says resolutely.

“Divya is actually entitled to tuition and special fee waiver on grounds of disability and the fact that she would be the first graduate from her family,” says T.M.N. Deepak of the Tamil Nadu Handicapped Federation Charitable Trust.

However, she had to pay up the amount initially, and has been promised a refund.

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