The Supreme Court on Monday directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to ensure that guidelines for the ease of access to students with disabilities in universities and colleges across the country are formulated in eight weeks. A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna noted the submission of the UGC’s counsel that a committee has been constituted following a direction of the court. It would look into formulation of guidelines for accessibility of students with disabilities in universities and colleges.
Advocate Manoj Ranjan Sinha, appearing for the UGC, said at the outset that an updated status report has been filed and it would take another eight weeks to frame the guidelines given the current Covid situation. The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on March 14. In 2017, the top court had said that for Guidelines for Accessibility for Students with Disabilities in Universities/Colleges, the UGC shall consider the feasibility of constituting a committee. In this Committee, the UGC would be free to include persons from amongst Central Advisory Board, State Advisory Boards, Chief Commissioner or State Commissioners appointed under the Disabilities Act. This Committee shall undertake a detailed study for making provisions in respect of accessibility as well as pedagogy and would also suggest the modalities for implementing those suggestions, their funding and monitoring, etc, the top court had said.
It added that the committee shall also lay down the time limit within which such suggestions could be implemented. The expert committee may also consider the feasibility of constituting an in-house body in each educational institution (of teachers, staff, students and parents) for taking care of the day to day needs of differently abled persons as well as for implementation of the schemes devised by it. The top court was hearing an application filed in the writ petition by the Disabled Right Group.