A notice was issued to colleges based on a plea that emphasised the importance of upholding democracy and equality in educational opportunities. The plea contended that the practice of excluding individuals of genders other than females from pursuing a B.Sc. (Hons.) nursing courses as per the notification for nursing courses in premier and affordable nursing colleges in Delhi goes against the principles of democracy and equality.
In essence, the argument put forth in the plea highlights the significance of providing an inclusive educational environment. Denying certain genders access to such a crucial course is viewed as a contradiction to the democratic values that form the foundation of our society. Moreover, the emphasis on affordability in nursing colleges underscores the broader commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for all aspiring students.
It emphasises how crucial it is to create an atmosphere in which people of all genders may pursue their goals in school without encountering prejudice. By doing this, these universities support the development of a society that is more inclusive and just.
The Delhi High Court has issued a notification for nursing courses on Tuesday in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), with the aim of challenging the existing rule that restricts eligibility for B.Sc. (Hons.) nursing courses to only women candidates in colleges operated by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi University (DU), and the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU).
Advocate Robin Raju, representing the petitioner, argued against the gender-based eligibility criterion for admissions to B.Sc. nursing courses in these institutions. The petitioner drew attention to the current academic year’s prospectus, emphasising the need to reconsider this restriction.
The court took note of a similar petition that is already under consideration, concerning the Indian Army. In light of this, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna decided to consolidate the matters for a joint hearing scheduled on February 19, 2024. This move reflects a strategic approach to address and deliberate on the issues collectively.
The current petition has been submitted to contest the prevailing regulations of the concerned parties, namely the universities. These rules specifically stipulate that solely female candidates qualify for admission as per the notification for nursing courses within nursing colleges affiliated with Respondent No. 2, 3, and 5, which include AIIMS, Delhi University, and IP University. The petitioner seeks a directive for Respondents No. 1 (Union of India) and 4 to revise the existing guidelines and introduce a fresh provision explicitly allowing individuals of all genders to be eligible for enrollment in B.Sc. (H) nursing courses.
In addressing the matter, the bench articulated its stance on the issue, highlighting the challenge against the current rules imposed by the universities. These regulations, limiting eligibility to female candidates for B.Sc. (Hons.) Nursing courses in affiliated institutions, specifically those run by AIIMS, Delhi University, and IP University, are under scrutiny as per the notification for nursing courses. The petitioner urges the intervention of Respondents No. 1 (Union of India) and 4 to bring about a revision that inclusively permits individuals of all genders to seek admission to B.Sc. (H) nursing courses.
The bench emphasised the nature of the petition, elucidating that it is a legal challenge to the existing norms maintained by the universities. The focus of contention revolves around the gender-specific eligibility criteria for B.Sc. (Hons.) nursing courses, particularly in institutions managed by AIIMS, Delhi University, and IP University. The plea seeks a legal mandate for Respondents No. 1 (Union of India) and 4 to instate a new provision, accommodating individuals of all genders for admission to B.Sc. (H) nursing courses.
The petitioner argues that the healthcare sector in the country is grappling with a severe shortage of nurses. Consequently, the petitioner, the Indian Professional Nurses Association (IPNA), a non-governmental registered body advocating for the welfare of nurses nationwide, has filed a plea. This plea urges the Union of India and the Delhi government to reconsider existing rules and formulate a new one that allows individuals of all genders to pursue admission to B.Sc. (Hons.) nursing courses.
Advocates Robin Raju and Aanchal Bumb, representing the petitioner, contend that the current practice of restricting admission to B.Sc. (H) Nursing courses solely for female candidates is problematic. They assert that such a rule, when evaluated against the touchstone of equality, falls short. The plea emphasises the denial of opportunities for individuals of genders other than females to enrol in B.Sc. (H) nursing courses at premier and affordable nursing colleges in Delhi are arbitrary as per the notification for nursing courses.