The Supreme Court in the case of Disabled Right Group vs. Union of India, decided on 15.12.2017, directed all Government institutions of higher education and other higher education institutions receiving aid from the Government (“institutions”) to strictly reserve 5% seats for disabled students every year.

The court further directed that the institutions should provide a list of disabled students admitted in each course every year to the Chief Commissioner or the State Commissioner for persons with disabilities (“Authorities”) as the case may be. The judgment casts a duty on the authorities to enquire whether the institutions comply with the obligation of providing 5% reservation and to take appropriate action against defaulting institutions.

The court also directed University Grants Commission (UGC) to constitute an expert committee who shall undertake a detailed study for making provisions regarding accessibility and pedagogy for persons with disabilities. The committee shall suggest modality for implementation of its suggestions and also provide information regarding monitoring and funding. The committee shall also lay down time limit within which the suggestions are required to be implemented. The committee shall also consider the feasibility of constituting an in-house body of teachers, staff and students for the benefit of disabled students in each educational institution.

A Public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by Disabled Right Group in 2006 for providing reservation, accessibility and pedagogy to disabled students in law colleges. The Court extended the coverage of this PIL to all educational institutions. The PIL was filed under the provisions of the Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and full participation) (“PWD”) Act, 1995 which was repealed with the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (“RPWD”) Act, 2016 and the court has passed the above mentioned directions after considering the appropriate provisions of the RPWD Act.

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