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The Bombay High Court has dismissed a Petition filed by a student, challenging denial of admission to him, to Film and Television Institution of India, Pune on the ground that he is colour blind and hence unfit for the course.

The Petitioner had applied to the Film and Television Institution of India at Pune for being admitted to the Post Graduate Diploma Course in Editing. After being shortlisted, he was medically examined by the Medical Officer, in his vision test, he was found to be colour blind. Resultantly, the admission was declined   to   the   Petitioner, in   view   of   the   FTII Rules that the candidates suffering from colour blindness are not entitled to get the admission in various courses including the course in question.

The Petitioner’s case was that “colour blindness” is neither a blindness nor a low vision within the meaning of Section 2(b) of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (For short “Act of 1995”) and as such denial of admission on the basis of colour blindness is illegal. It is also the case of the Petitioner that #FTII has not taken into consideration   the   suitability   of   colour   blind   students   for   each individual course run by it but has arbitrarily put a clause in the eligibility criteria that the candidates suffering from colour blindness will not be suitable for the course which are not suitable for visually handicapped candidates.  The   Petitioner   has   further   stated   that   first Respondent has assigned no reason as to how the colour blindness would affect the Petitioner’s ability to pursue the said course.

FTII replied to the Petition saying that the Petitioner was shortlisted for three years  Post Graduate Diploma Course in Editing but as per the FTII Rules, the shortlisted candidates are required to undergo a medical test. In his medical test the Officer after examining the Petitioner has found that the Petitioner is colour blind (Red, Green, Blue in both eyes > 60%). He accordingly vide  his  report   dated  28th  July,  2016  opined  that  the Petitioner’s colour blindness is a disqualification for admission of the Petitioner for the course of Editing.

In reply it has been further stated that nature of studies and the professional assignments carried out during the academic session or in the professional life of a student for the course in question, demands in­depth knowledge of various colour shades, colours   schemes, colour   matching, colour   continuity   and distinguishing ability between different colours.  FTII further mentioned that it had   set   up   an   Admission Committee  comprising   of   experts   from   various   fields  and the rules regarding eligibility has been framed after expert advise.  It has been stated   that   the   colour   blind   students   are   forbidden   from   taking admission as the courses for Cinematography/Camera, Editing, video Editing, Art Direction and Animation. These are courses which require studies   and   professional   assignments   which   demand   in­depth knowledge   of   various   colour   shades, colours   scheme, matching, colour continuity and detailed colour distinguishing ability. It is also submitted that it is impossible for a colour blind student to carry out the intensive studies & perform accurately in future professional life.

The Court before dealing with the issue of the Petition observed that the courts should be slow to interfere with the opinions expressed by the experts and it would normally be wise and safe for the courts to leave the decisions of academic matters to experts who are more familiar with the problems they face than the courts generally can be.  The Court also noted that the Petitioner has not alleged malafide in not granting admission to him, by the first Respondent.

The Court therefore observed that in the circumstances when the expert body of the first Respondent   having   fixed   the   eligibility   criteria   and   after due consideration have carved out six courses in which the candidates suffering from colour blindness are not found to be suitable for being given   admission, the   action   of   the   first   Respondent   denying   the admission to the Petitioner holding him to be not eligible, cannot be said to be illegal or arbitrary.

The Court therefore eventually, noting the Petitioner   being   a   candidate   suffering   from   disability   of   colour blindness, cannot claim admission in the course in question in which according to the FTII Rules framed by the expert body of the first Respondent dismissed the Petition.

The Court also observed that in the absence of any malafide or arbitrariness on the part of the first Respondent rejecting the Petitioner’s prayer for grant of admission, no case to invoke extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is made out.

EduLegaL View:

It is right that the Courts should not generally interfere in academic matters and such matters should be left to wisdom of academic experts. However, what I thought that the Court could have done some accommodative justice in this case, rather than, doing adjudicative justice.

I wish FTII to further the interest of the candidate, offered some other course to the student, if offered within the Institute, which could have kept his aspiration going in his pursuit. Sometimes, some alternates, are better than denials, because denials are always demoralizing to aspirations. But in any case it was a matter of institutional discretion and individual choice, so I have very little to comment.

 

Ravi Bhardwaj

Higher Education | Admission | Eligibility | Rules 

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