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‘Violation’ of rights of disabled students: Umang Foundation to challenge Himachal board, CBSE rules

The Umang Foundation will challenge the rules of the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education, Central Board of School Education (CBSE) and state and national open schools, which violate the rights of disabled students, in the high court.

Expert member of the State Disability Advisory Board, chairman of Umang Foundation and nodal officer for Disability Affairs of the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), Shimla, Prof Ajay Srivastava said that the rules of these educational bodies do not conform with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

Anjana Thakur and a student with disabilities pursuing PhD in Botany from Himachal Pradesh University convened the webinar.

He said that recently, the State Education Board had to amend its rules regarding differently-abled persons on February 4, 2022, after the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Himachal Pradesh High Court headed by Justice Tarlok Singh Chouhan took cognisance of his prayer.

But still many rules of the education board are violating the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

Prof Srivastava said that according to the rules of the State Education Board, students with physical disabilities cannot study science subjects. This is discrimination against disabled students which is illegal. Apart from this, many other rules also violate the law. The board has also given the right to the visually impaired students to take the examination in computer or braille only on paper.

He said that there are discrepancies in CBSE’s rules also.

He said that schools in Himachal usually do not provide the facility of a writer to the candidates who are unable to write due to visual impairment and physical disability. If the students themselves have to find a writer, then in violation of the law, the school forces them to bring at least one class junior writer. The rule of giving examinations on the computer to visually impaired students is also not being implemented.

Similarly, the State and National Open School rules are also not fully compliant with disability law. The rules say that the writer should be a student of any age and he should not be a relative of the candidate. The open school does not arrange writers for the examinees in Himachal. If the examination centre arranges for the writer, then according to the rules, he does not give any honorarium.