Shimla. Expert Member of HP State Advisory Board on Disability and Chairman, Umang Foundation Ajai Srivastava has urged the Chief Minister to immediately withdraw the guidelines for conducting examination for persons with disabilities-2020, issued by the department of social justice and empowerment.

Terming the guidelines ‘illegal’, Ajai Srivastava, in a press conference on Sunday, claimed the guidelines issued by the Dept of Social Justice and Empowerment were contrary to directions issued by the central ministry for social justice and empowerment, UGC and High Court of Delhi, which are binding on all states. Elaborating his case, Srivastava said

“in February 2013 the central ministry for social justice and empowerment had first time issued a guideline for conducting examinations for the disabled in which it was clearly mentioned that the eligible disabled students can arrange their own scribe for writing the examination and there should be no fixed criteria of scribe’s qualification. Its plain meaning was that for visually impaired and other candidates who cannot write due to disability, anyone could become a writer in exams.”

“In 2018, a central ministry for social justice issued new guidelines in which, a new criterion for scribes, one standard below to the examinee was fixed. But in the same document, it was made clear that the examination conducting agency should prepare a pool of scribes to support the disabled candidates. On a petition, Delhi High Court in 2018 had directed the Central government and UGC that if the agency fails to provide scribes and candidate brings own scribe, criteria of ‘one step below’ in qualification shall not be fixed and in such cases, guidelines of 2013 had to be applied till the agency prepares a pool of scribes, Shrivastava further added.

The central government and UGC issued directions for compliance with the court’s order about two years ago. However, the department of social justice in gross violation of the court’s order issued its own guidelines in which ‘one step below’ criteria for scribes was fixed, Umang Foundation Chairman further alleges.

Ajai Srivastava demanded the state government to withdraw its document and allow the candidates to bring their own scribes without fixing their qualifications. It should also direct all examination conducting agencies in the state including schools, colleges, universities, technical and medical institutions and recruitment agencies to prepare a pool of scribes as per the instructions issued by the government of India.

Ajai Srivastava has also written to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and accused the nodal department of disability affairs of harassing visually impaired and other students who cannot write due to disability and making their future dark.