Bombay HC allows student with online gaming disorder to appear for improvement exam

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The Bombay High Court has ruled in favor of a 19-year-old boy suffering from Internet Gaming Disorder, allowing him to reappear for his Class XII improvement exams. The court’s decision, delivered by a division bench comprising Judges A S Chandurkar and Rajesh Patil on July 4, provides opportunities to students facing medical challenges.

As reported by Deccan Herald, the petitioner, who had excelled academically until Class XI with consistently high marks ranging from 85 to 93 percent, faced a setback during his Class XII exams in March 2023 due to depression and Internet Gaming Disorder. As a result, he obtained 316 marks out of 600, lower than his previous academic performance.

Following his diagnosis and subsequent treatment for depression and anxiety from July 2023 to December 2023, including at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Hospital, the student was unable to appear for the re-examination held in July 2023 due to his condition. Despite his efforts to seek permission to appear for the March 2024 improvement exams, his college initially denied his request, prompting him to approach the High Court.

Upon reviewing the medical records and considering the circumstances of the case, the High Court acknowledged the authenticity of the documents and concluded that the petitioner was genuinely unable to sit for his exams earlier due to medical reasons. In its order, the bench the principle of justice, stating, “In the interest of justice, subject to the petitioner making the requisite application seeking permission to appear in July 2024 examination with the college, coupled with payment of necessary late fees, he shall be permitted to appear in the examination that is to commence from July 16.”

The court’s decision not only acknowledges the challenges faced by students dealing with mental health issues exacerbated by conditions like Internet Gaming Disorder but also highlights the importance of accommodating such circumstances in educational policies.

The next step for the petitioner involves fulfilling the procedural requirements set forth by the court to secure his opportunity to improve his academic record. The case sets a precedent for similar situations where students’ academic pursuits are hindered by medical conditions, signaling a compassionate approach from the judiciary towards their challenges.

This ruling is expected to resonate within educational institutions and among policymakers, urging them to consider more flexible policies and support mechanisms for students dealing with mental health issues impacting their studies.