The Karnataka High Court has observed that the power of the medical board is limited to assessing and certifying the disability of the candidate and cannot determine the eligibility of a candidate.

The Court allowed a Writ Petition challenging a disability certificate issued by a Medical Board/ Respondent no. 3 (Board). Although the certificate recorded the disability as 50%, it also concluded that the Petitioner was not eligible to pursue medical courses as per the National Medical Committee (NMC) Norms.

The Court held that the board was not authorized to ascertain the eligibility of the Petitioner and was only empowered to assess and certify the extent of disability. Therefore, the Court struck off from consideration the portion of the certificate with the heading “Conclusion”.

The Bench comprising Justice G. Narendar and Justice Vijaykumar A. Patil observed, “The eligibility of a candidate is to be concluded by the respondents and it certainly is not within the domain of the Medical Board. Being an expert body it was merely required to assess and certify the extent of disability, in our opinion the conclusion drawn by the board is wholly unsustainable being illegal and as the board is not the selecting authority the eligibility of a candidate cannot be certified by the board. The board is only required to certify the extent of disability and the eligibility of a candidate is in the hands of the competent authority. In our opinion the board has traversed an area beyond its realms, which in our opinion is impermissible”.

Advocate Divyatej H.N appeared for the Petitioner, Government Counsel Shivaprasad Shantanagoudar appeared for Respondents no. 1 and 3 and Advocate K.N. Ketty appeared for Respondent no. 2.

The Petitioner was assessed with a disability of 45% and was admitted to a seat reserved against the quota for “Persons with Disability”. Having completed her under-graduation in first class and aspiring for post-graduation has made an application and has undergone the mandatory examination by the Board in the designated centre at Madras Medical College wherein after examination the Board has assessed her disability at 50%. But while recording its conclusion it had recorded that the candidate was not eligible to pursue medical course as per NMC Norms. A Writ Petition was filed seeking to quash a disability certificate issued for NEET Admissions by the medical board.

The disability certificate read, “​​Conclusion: Based on qualification of Disability The Candidate is not eligible to pursue medical course (as per NMC norms)

The Court observed that, according to the regulations, a person with a certain extent of disability is entitled to quota benefits, if the disability is certified to be between 40% and 80%. The Court emphasised that the Petitioner, who has been certified as having a 50% disability, was naturally and legally entitled to be considered for selection. In light of this, the Court struck off from consideration the portion of the certificate with the heading “Conclusion”.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the Petition and directed Respondents no. 2 and 3 to consider the case of the petitioner for admission for graduation under the “Persons with Disability” quota.

Cause Title: Dr. Pooja S N v Union of India

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