Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed UGC to provide Braille questionnaire to visually impaired candidates to enable them to take part in the National Eligibility Test, to be held on December 29.
Justice S Vaidyanathan, at a special sitting yesterday, passed the interim order on a petition from Miranda Tomkinson, who was born without sight and had lost his hearing when he was in school.
"This court directs UGC to furnish Braille questionnaire to the petitioner and similarly placed persons and fulfil the other conditions mentioned in the office memorandum dated February 26, 2013 issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Department of Disability Affairs to enable them to take part in the examination, scheduled on December 29", he said.
"If the UGC is not going to provide this, it would amount to clear discrimination. The officials ought to have taken note of the difficulties of the disabled persons and should not have made them run from pillar to post as they are already helpless," he said.
The judge said after the examination was over, the results may be withheld pending disposal of the petition and posted to January 20 next year, further hearing of the case.
The office memorandum has prescribed certain guidelines, including that the persons with disabilities should be given the option of choosing the mode for taking the examinations i.e. In Braille or in the computer or in large print or even by recording the answers as the examining bodies can easily make use of technology to convert question paper in large prints, e-text or Braille and can also convert Braille text in English or regional languages.
The petitioner had completed two postgraduate degrees. He was going to take up National Eligibility Test conducted by the UGC to work as lecturer. He has been asking for Braille questionnaire. But there was no response from UGC or any one concerned. This question paper was meant for persons, who were disabled, without sight and hard of hearing.
In June, he attempted to write the examination, but for want of Braille questionnaire he could not appear.