HC Relief for CA Student seeking wheelchair access to ICAI Exam Centre

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  1. Parul_Gupta

    Parul_Gupta Active Member

    The Bombay high court has directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC) here to make necessary arrangements for a wheelchair-bound student to appear for her chartered accountancy (CA) intermediate exam in November.

    In an interim order on September 29, the high court bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak also directed the ICAI office here to take measures to make its own building barrier-free for students with disabilities. The ICAI has to file an affidavit in the court by October 28 and the matter has been posted for hearing on October 30.

    Akanksha Vardhaman Kale, who is pursuing her studies at BMCC, filed a petition in the high court on June 30 through her lawyer Satyavrat Joshi. She sought the court's directions to the Savitribai Phule Pune University to provide facilities - as mandated by Section 46 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 - to disabled persons at the university campus and all affiliated colleges.

    Kale stated that she cannot go to any college in Pune to appear for her CA intermediate exam, scheduled between November 7 and 20, as there are no disabled-friendly facilities at the colleges. The ICAI and the Pune-based Sate Commissioner for persons with disabilities were named among the eight respondents in the petition.

    On September 3, the bench directed Kale to suggest an appropriate place with disabled-friendly facilities, where she can appear for the exam, to be conducted by the ICAI. It also asked the lawyers appearing for the ICAI and the state government to take instructions from their clients regarding the issue. In her affidavit, filed three days later in court, Kale suggested that BMCC has the necessary barrier-free environment and her exam be conducted there by the ICAI.

    On September 29, the lawyers appearing for the ICAI brought to the court's notice that the institute had approached BMCC with a plea to provide space for the conduct of the CA exam, but the college turned down the request. The bench, however, observed that BMCC may have taken the ICAI's plea as a request for large scale arrangements for several students. In response to the court's query, the ICAI pointed out that only the petitioner and no other student has requested for disabled-friendly facilities.

    "Having regard to the fact that the petitioner is the only student with locomotory disability, requiring barrier free environment and that she is a student of BMCC, the interests of justice require appropriate directions need to be given to BMCC," the bench observed. The court directed addition of names of BMCC and the state coordination committee as respondents no 9 and 10 in the matter while issuing the interim order. (Source: Times of India)
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