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Supreme Court panel: Remove discrimination against Colour Blind aspirants from becoming Doctors

July 30, 2017

CVD is not considered as a criterion for rejection in Medical Profession US, UK and other western countries.

Color Blindness

A decades-old bar against color blind people from becoming doctors is set to be removed with Apex Court-appointed committee recommending to the court that the current discrimination on the basis of Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) must be done away.

Holding that the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) rule preventing color blind people from taking up medical studies is “Regressive”, the Supreme Court had set up the committee in March 2017, comprising experts from the fields of genetics, psychiatry, ophthalmology & medical education to review the regulation & analyse issues regarding CVD & the norms in other countries.

MCI’s counsel Gaurav Sharma, who had filed committee’s report, agreed with the Supreme Court’s views & said that CVD shouldn’t be an absolute bar as it is a common problem & didn’t significantly impact a person’s ability to practice medicine.

Report said there shouldn’t be any restriction either at the stage of admission or at completion of study & registration as a medical practitioner.

It said that there’re many reasons why doctors with CVD may perform as well as those with normal color vision. Firstly, diagnostic & treatment process isn’t solely reliant on the ability to perceive colors. There’re many other cues from history of illness & examination that might be utilized to compensate for handicaps resulting from CVD. Doctors with CVD can also overcome their difficulties by carrying out a more thorough diagnostic assessment and taking the help of other colleagues.”

The committee’s report said India is perhaps the only country in the world where color blind people are denied admission in the medical colleges.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, while setting up the committee, had said, “With progress of science, expansion of vistas of knowledge, inclusive culture, having regard to inclusive society & respect for differently-abled persons, it’s obligatory on the part of the MCI to take a progressive measure, so that an individual suffering from color blindness doesn’t feel like an alien to the concept of Equality.”

The report noted that “though the risk of medical errors may still exist, particularly among those with more severe CVD.”

Committee has noted that there’s no identifiable compromise in the abilities of a clinical practitioner with CVD though certain tasks pertaining to specific fields of Higher studies and Super-specialization might need a closer evaluation.

But color corrective contact lenses/spectacles may be considered to assist the person, when necessary.

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