Can colour-blind study medicine, SC asks panel

Can colour-blind study medicine, SC asks panel
The Supreme Court has directed the Medical Council of India to form a committee of experts to examine the possibility of colour-blind people pursuing the MBBS course. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar said the committee will include experts from genetics, ophthalmology, psychiatry and medical education from AIIMS, New Delhi and PGIMER, Chandigarh.

It shall take note of prevalent practices and suggest changes in the medical course, keeping in view international practices. The committee, which will also have legal experts, has been directed to submit its report within three months. The court gave this direction while considering a plea by Pranay Kumar Podder and others, who were denied admission to the MBBS course at a Tripura college due to partial colour-blindness.

It noted there were no regulations framed by the MCI, except its resolution passed at a general body meeting in 2004, which stated that a candidate for the MBBS course should be able to identify the three primary colours. Though the court said it was not deciding the current controversy, it felt that a total exclusion of colour-blind people “would tantamount to regressive thinking”.

The court appointed senior advocate K V Viswanathan, who submitted that a complete ban on the admission of individuals suffering from colour vision deficiency (CVD) to the MBBS course would violate conferment of equal opportunities and fair treatment. He said it was obligatory on the part of the Medical Council of India to adopt progressive measures.

The counsel stressed the need for a relook at the nature and severity of colour-blindness and the disciplines those affected by it can practise as colour-blindness was not considered a disability under the law. Having considered the amicus curiae's suggestion, the court directed the committee to be formed within three weeks.

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