Shimla: The efforts to implement statuary provision of three percent reservation in admission to higher classes like Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Himachal Pradesh have ultimately yielded results. The Disability Commissioner of Himachal Pradesh, on a complaint filed by Ajai Srivastava, a well-known disability rights activist, has ordered that all the three government universities in the state i.e. Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan and Chaudhary Sharvan Kumar University of Agriculture, Palampur, will provide 3 percent reservation quota in admission in all classes including MPhil and PhD to all students with 40 percent or above percentage of disability. This order is being considered as the start of a new era in the field of higher education for persons with disabilities in this Himalayan state.
Rashima Gupta, Principal Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment and Disability Commissioner, took serious note of a letter of Ajai Srivastava, chairman, Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, Himachal Pradesh, and summoned Rattan Singh, Registrar of Himachal Pradesh University, on 27th April, 2009. It was alleged by Srivastava that the university has not implemented the statutory provisions with regard to reservation quota of three percent in admission to higher classes. He had argued that the section 39 of Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, and the ruling of the Supreme Court of India in the case of All Kerala Parents Association of Hearing Handicapped vs. State of Kerala are very clear in this regard. Therefore it was a statutory obligation of the state to ensure the implementation of law of the land.
Ajai Srivastava had urged the Disability Commissioner to take immediate necessary steps to safeguard the rights of students with disabilities who want to pursue higher studies in Himachal Pradesh. The Registrar of Himachal Pradesh University assured the Disability Commissioner that steps were being taken to implement the provisions of the Disability Act in its letter and spirit. He said from the ensuing session itself the university would extend 3 percent reservation to the disabled in admissions in all classes. The Disability Commissioner, in her order, also directed the other two government universities to strictly follow the section 39 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. It is the first time that the Disability Commissioner has passed such orders against the universities in Himachal Pradesh.