The J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) has come under severe criticism for violating the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPDA), 2016 during counseling of candidates who qualified NEET UG-2020 examination in J&K.
The pan-India body of health professionals with disabilities for social justice have written to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and sought his intervention into the matter. The ‘Doctors with Disabilities’ and ‘Agents of Change’ in their letter to the LG have stated that the NEET-UG information brochure 2020 for the counselling and admissions at the undergraduate courses in government medical, dental, Ayurvedic, Unani and physiotherapy colleges of J&K released by the JKBOPEE had no mention of reservation to persons with disabilities. “But this reservation is mandatory as 5 percent reservation in higher education as per the RPDA 2016 and the J&K Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2020,” the letter reads. The doctors’ body has further stated that JKBOPEE brochure in paragraph seven had mentioned that the rules and regulations of MCI and DCI besides the J&K rules would be applicable.
“But it has completely ignored and disrespected the SO 127 released by the J&K government in April this. The SO was released after amending the J&K Reservation Act, 2004 in line with the RPDA to grant 4 percent direct reservation in recruitment to physically-challenged persons and 4 percent reservation in professional institutions to physically-challenged persons,” the doctors’ body said.
According to the doctors’ body, the official website of the JKBOPEE mentions both the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 and the MCI disability benchmark for medical and dental courses at point 16 and 17. JKBOPEE on November 18 released the provisional merit list of NEET UG 2020 candidates without providing reservation to persons with disabilities. “We seek LG’s urgent intervention since the admission process has to be completed in a time-bound manner,” the doctors’ body said and appealed the administration to direct the authorities in BOPEE to incorporate reservation to candidates with disabilities in light of the RPDA 2016. “With the timely intervention of J&K administration, these eligible candidates should not miss out joining the 18 medical and dental institutions in J&K in this academic year,” the doctors said. Chairman JKBOPEE, Shafiq Ahmad Raina did not respond to calls from Greater Kashmir.
Controller JKBOPEE Sunil Gupta refuted the allegations and said that they had already issued a notification on JKBOPEE website and eligible candidates had applied under the reservation quota as well. “People can say anything but we have already issued a notification and candidates are submitting their certificates and we are giving reservation,” he said.
Gupta said the counseling of candidates was also delayed as candidates were coming up with certificates to avail admission under RPDA 2016.