Published: 10th May 2022
Colour blind student will return to FTII next year, institute tells SC
Ashutosh Kumar has been battling for the right to study at FTII for seven years. This year, the Supreme Court finally directed the FTII to adopt an inclusive and progressive approach
Ashutosh Kumar will be fulfilling his dream of studying at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in 2023. This was conveyed by the FTII to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 10, during a hearing in the case filed by Ashutosh against the institute, which had cancelled his admission in 2015 when the student was discovered to be colour blind.
The Supreme Court, on April 12 this year, had directed the FTII to revise its eligibility criteria to allow colour blind students to study filmmaking at the institute. A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh observed that "filmmaking and editing is a form of art" and "the institute must adopt an inclusive and progressive approach". According to an ANI report, the apex court also ordered that its direction will also be applicable to other film and television institutes following a similar curriculum as FTII.
The FTII said that since this year's admissions had been conducted already, it is only next year that Ashutosh can return to the institute. FTII assured the apex court that a seat will be reserved for the student and he would not have to sit the entrance tests. In 2015, Kumar was shortlisted for the course but his candidature was rejected after he was found to be colour blind during a medical examination. The authorities cited FTII rules which state that colour blind candidates are not fit for admission in six of the twelve courses, including film editing.
These rules were formed on the recommendations of an expert committee. When Ashutosh challenged the cancellation of his admission in the Bombay High Court, he also filed an RTI to understand the nature of the expert committee. He discovered that they did not have an ophthalmologist or a noted filmmaker on board. However, the Bombay High Court upheld the decision of the FTII to cancel his admission in 2017. Ashutosh then filed a Special Leave Petition challenging the HC's decision in the Supreme Court, where another panel of experts was formed by the apex court. This panel concluded that colour blind students cannot be denied the right to study filmmaking. The court also said that the FTII needed to review its rules in keeping with the Right to Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016 and make reasonable accommodations.
Ashutosh is now 30 years old. The battle of seven years to earn his spot at the FTII back was a long one indeed. "I am excited to go to college now. I have experience and professional knowledge now. I have worked with media channels and worked on documentaries. These things will help me. I will be more sincere and have a deeper understanding of art and filmmaking," an elated Ashutosh tells Edexlive.