Himachal Pradesh Medical Colleges to Offer Free Education to Disabled Students

Disabled Students
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In a landmark decision, disabled students in Himachal Pradesh will now be able to pursue medical education free of cost across all six government medical colleges in the state. This significant move comes after a prolonged legal battle and is set to benefit hundreds of students enrolled in MBBS, MD, Nursing, and other medical courses.

The directive was officially issued by Atal Medical and Research University on May 15, 2024, following a High Court decision dated June 4, 2015. The court’s ruling came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Umang Foundation President Ajay Srivastava. The court had granted disabled students the right to free education up to the university level in government institutions, but the Medical Education Department had delayed its implementation in medical colleges for nine years.

Ajay Srivastava expressed satisfaction with the recent development, highlighting the persistent efforts made by various individuals and organizations. Last year, the issue gained renewed attention when Nikita Choudhary, a wheelchair user and MBBS student at Tanda Medical College, advocated for the enforcement of the High Court’s order. Despite gaining admission through the court’s intervention, she had been required to pay full fees. Choudhary’s case underscored the ongoing non-compliance with the court’s ruling, which mandated free education for disabled students.

Srivastava emphasized that all medical colleges in the state currently provide a 5% reservation for disabled students. However, until now, these institutions have continued to collect fees in violation of the High Court’s order. Srivastava also urged the authorities to refund the fees collected from disabled students over the past nine years.

The six government medical colleges affected by this decision are Indira Gandhi Medical College in Shimla, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Tanda, Lal Bahadur Shastri Medical College in Ner Chowk, Dr. Radhakrishnan Medical College in Hamirpur, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Chamba, and Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar Medical College in Nahan. This initiative is expected to provide substantial relief to approximately 120 disabled MBBS students currently enrolled, along with numerous others in postgraduate and nursing courses.

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