Permit student to appear for NEET wearing adult diapers: Madras HC to NTA

If the facilities required by her are denied, she will be unable to appear for the exam, and that amounts to discrimination, it noted.
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court(File photo | Express)

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court recently directed the National Testing Agency (NTA) to permit a 19-year-old woman to appear for the NEET (UG) examination on May 5 wearing an adult diaper and allow her to change the diaper once or twice during exam hours, considering her medical condition.

Justice G R Swaminathan issued the order based on a petition filed by the student seeking directions to the NTA in this regard. The court stated that when the petitioner was four years of age, she met with an accident, suffered burn injuries on her face and was scalded by hot oil. The student is being treated for LETM/NMO/Spectrum Disorder/Neurogenic Bladder on an OPD basis. Her doctor has certified that she lacks bladder control, and must wear a diaper continuously, which also has to be changed frequently.

The court stated that the information bulletin issued by NTA mentions dress codes, but the clauses do not address the petitioner’s case. In another NTA notification, it is mentioned that diabetic students will be allowed to carry eatables such as sugar tablets/fruits and transparent water bottles to the examination halls. It It was also laid down that candidates would be frisked and biometric attendance would be taken again on entry after toilet breaks.

The court said that the petitioner’s record clearly states that she has special needs and has to take toilet breaks while writing the examination. If the facilities required by her are denied, she will be unable to appear for the exam, and that amounts to discrimination, it noted.

“Concerning the dress code, it would be appropriate if the clause specifically allowed girl students to wear sanitary pads. The absence of such a clause is why the student has filed the petition. The exam authorities are directed to bear the special needs of girl students in mind and provide reasonable accommodation,” the court said.

It further observed that mandatory frisking is sometimes taken to absurd limits, citing the case in Kerala where a girl student was asked to remove her innerwear. “Every exam centre must have suitable toilet facilities and a minimum number of sanitary products must be made available. Girls must also be allowed to use restrooms as and when required. Restrooms can be inspected in advance and regularly, to prevent frisking the candidates again. This will save candidates precious time,” the judge stated.

The high court also recorded the statement, and the NTA, considering the case, agreed to the student’s request and has undertaken issuing suitable instructions to her examiner.

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