Setting an example of upholding the rights of disabled students, the Delhi High Court ordered the University of Delhi to conduct another entrance exam in order to aid a visually challenged aspirant.
On 22nd August 2017, the Delhi High Court directed the University of Delhi (DU) to conduct an entrance examination for the visually challenged youth who could not appear for the M.Phil. Sanskrit entrance test. The candidate was unable to take the examination as he could not board the railway coach reserved for disabled persons, owing to the irresponsibility of the Indian Railways.
On 4th July 2017, Vaibhav Shukla booked a ticket for Delhi in the Jharkhand Sampark Kranti. He was going to Delhi to give an entrance exam which was scheduled for 5th July, 2017. When the train was delayed, he decided to catch the Gorakhdham Express which departs from Unnao at 10:45 p.m. on 4th July and reaches Delhi at 5:55 a.m. the next day. However, Gorakhdham Express arrived 13 hours late from its scheduled arrival. When Vaibhav and his driver tried to board the train, they found that the reserved coach was locked from inside. Since the stoppage was only for two minutes, he could not make it to another reserved coach as it was at the other end of the train, thus, ended up missing the train. Once in Delhi, he told the University authorities about his plight, but the officials refused to help him.
After coming to know about Vaibhav’s situation, a bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar initiated a suo moto cognizance on 7th July. Subsequently, they sent notices to the Union of India, North Eastern Railways, and the University of Delhi.
In response to the notice, DU argued that relief cannot be granted to Mr. Vaibhav Shukla. One of the arguments was that since all candidates must be judged through the same test, it is not feasible to conduct another exam. DU also contended that if entrance test is repeated it will set a precedent for future where anyone who turns up late can demand another chance.
All these arguments were contested by amicus curiae Mr. S.K. Runga. He pointed out that for all exams, DU prepares two question papers that are of the same level of difficulty. While one paper is already utilised, the second paper remains with DU and can be used for Vaibhav’s test. Therefore, the inconvenience of having to prepare a fresh question paper is irrelevant. With regards to the concern that the present case will be used as a precedent, it will be made clear that the order has been passed in the special circumstances and this case cannot be cited as a precedent.
After hearing all arguments, the court ruled for another entrance exam and said, “It is directed that within ten days from today, the University of Delhi shall conduct an entrance examination for the respondent no. 4 for admission to the M.Phil. (Sanskrit) 2017-18 session forthwith and declare his result.”
Feature Image Credits- The Hindu