The high court of Delhi, in the case of Manif Alam vs. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-Delhi) and Ors, decided on 16.02.2018, directed IIT-Delhi to immediately re-admit Mr. Manif Alam and also provide him extra coaching, if the need be. Further, it was held that the automatic expulsion of a student with disability from the Institute merely because he was unable to secure the required grade in the first semester, was arbitrary and most unfair especially when not given a chance to improve his grades by re-attempting the papers and providing any necessary aide to help a disabled student such as himself. The court also stated that without giving any opportunity to give an explanation for his failure to meet the prescribed criteria was a violation of the principles of natural justice.
Mr. Manif Alam, a physically disabled student suffering from 50% locomotory disability had secured admission in MSc. Mathematics at IIT-Delhi for the academic year 2017-18 through the institute’s common entrance test i.e Joint Admission Test for MSc. Mathematics. After securing the marks above the cut off set by the Institute, Mr. Alam was enrolled under the Differently Abled Category of the Institute from 24.07.2017 and gave his first semester examinations from 18.11.2017 to 23.11.2017. However, when the results were declared on 09.01.2018, Mr. Alam was declared as failed due to scoring a lower Semester Grade Point Average (“SGPA”) than the minimum requirement of 4.00. Furthermore, his name was struckoff from the rolls of the Institute on account of his poor performance. Mr. Alam was permitted to re appear for one paper in which he had scored lower grades however, he was not permitted to do so for the subject in which he scored F Grade.
Owing to the sudden striking off of his name Mr. Alam made a request in writing to the Dean of IIT-Delhi to restore his enrolment and give him a chance to explain his performance as well as improve it. He also mentioned that his performance was affected due to the lack of provisions made by IIT-Delhi to ease his transition into an English medium instructing institute from a hindi medium background. Further, Mr. Alam pointed out that under the mandate of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) (“PWD”) Act, 1995, IIT-Delhi did not provide any facilities like the Equal Opportunity Cell which would have allowed him to seek redressal for his issues or complaints. On account of not receiving a response from the institute, Mr. Alam had to resort to this current writ petition before the High Court of Delhi.
The High Court of Delhi perused over the issue and tried to understand the necessity to meet academic standards prescribed by an Educational Institute and the reason for providing reservation in premier Educational Institutes of the country for Persons with Disability. Reading section 72 of the PWD Act, 1995 and section 16 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“RPWD”) Act, 2016, which lays down the duties for all educational institutions, the court emphasized that it was also their duty to provide necessary support to maximize academic and social development consistent with the goal of full inclusion. Furthermore, it was reiterated by the court that it was important for the educational institutes to give them extra coaching and guidance if need be and provide them reservation at the time of admission in the Institutes. Thus, the High Court of Delhi ordered IIT-Delhi to immediately re-admit Mr. Alam and also provide him extra coaching, if the need be.