On Wednesday, The Delhi High Court examined Centre’s response on a request asking the ideal mechanism for visually or auditory impaired students to aid them to cope up with the studies that are taking place, nowadays via online mode because of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Centre put the petition in High Court of Delhi in which they plead to provide a mechanism so that blind and deaf students of the universities could be benefitted. Amidst the lockdown, the virtual classes are conducted by the institutions and these students need to have a better alternative for learning.
A bench of Justices, followed by Himanshu Kohli and Subramonium Prasad held the hearing of the court with the help of video conferencing and the Justices issued court’s order to Ministries of Human Resource Development and Social Justice and Empowerment, imploring them to file a counter-affidavit.
The next hearing, regarding the case, will be done n 2nd June.
Central Government standing advocate Ripu Daman Bhardwaj represented the ministries.
Prateek Sharma and Diksha Singh, the two law students, filed the case in Delhi High Court. They contended that due to coronavirus crises, the school, colleges, and universities have opted for online mode of learning. However, the responsible authorities did not take the necessary steps favoring visually and auditory impaired students’ needs and concerns.
It sought a path to the Centre to take sufficient steps and undertakes measures to furnish e-learning and examinations, constituting mid-semester evaluation as per the UGC guidelines.
The petition by law students clearly stated that the administration has completely ignored its responsibilities towards specially-abled pupils under the Right to Education Act and Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of the constitution.
The government has supported and even endorsed the online method of teaching but it still did not give any solution regarding the specially-abled students’ study method. They did not give any resources that could be accessible to them. This left the visually and auditory impaired students in a fix and the plea also added, this gave birth to discrimination and caused fatal loss to the educational efforts of students.
The applied demanded, “ to direct that academic stuff is made functional in such format that can be accessed and re-accessed by specially-abled students and further are all educational organizations be supervised to upload or make or make available educational teachings which are uploaded on the internet or website or any other such device to carry the same scholarly sign language readily available and served without any charges.”
It further said “ Due to this non-consideration, learners at all levels who are visually impaired and/or specially-abled (auditory impairment) find themselves in deteriorating educational circumstance and effectively have been left to watch over for themselves during this unfavorable period”.
In addition to this, the petition sought directions that all the informational messages and posts related to coronavirus and lockdown issues should be uploaded on the website in the text to speech layout so that it could be easily available to auditory and visually impaired students as well.
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