CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday directed issuing of notices to Central and State governments following a PIL seeking guidelines for appointing scribes to assist visually-impaired students for board exams. The petitioner, C Govindakrishnan, a social activist, submitted that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Department of Disability Affairs released an Official Memorandum dated February 26, 2013 listing the guidelines for conducting written examinations for persons with disabilities.
“The memorandum directs the examining body to create a selection panel in order to scrutinise the suitability of the scribes appointed as per the requirement of the examination,” Govindakrishnan said.
This is to ensure that the scribe is acclimatised to the student’s examination needs wherein both parties can determine if the scribe has the minimum requirements to assist the student in the examination, he added. He further stated that following a representation, the State government issued a letter to the School Education and Higher Education departments, and the Commissioner for the Differently-Abled to follow the guidelines while appointing scribes. Even after this, the letter issued by the government has not been implemented, which has caused severe setbacks and mental agony to the disabled students, he alleged.
The petitioner sought an interim direction to the authorities to implement the guidelines listed in the official memorandum dated February 26, 2013. Admitting the petition, the first bench comprising Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh ordered notices to Central and State governments and directed them to file their counters within three weeks. The matter has been posted for next hearing on April 24.