Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reservation for Mentally Challenged Persons

Posted: Wed Jul 21 2010, 02:46 hrs

Why isn’t there any reservation for mentally retarded people in Mohali’s Aerocity project? Raising this vital question a 39-year-old resident of Punjab, who has been suffering from mental illness for the last 15 years, has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding separate reservation for mentally retarded persons other than the reservation for physically disabled.

Taking stock of the petition and considering it to be a question of public importance, Justice Surya Kant has issued notices to the state and referred the petition to be taken up as public interest. Hearing on the plea has been deferred to August 11. Arguing on behalf of petitioner Gurcharan Singh, advocate R S Bains has sought directions to the state of Punjab to “to include mentally challenged ain the category of disabled persons since the Act does not differentiate between the physically and mentally disabled as far as affirmative actions by the state are concerned”. Vehemently arguing and terming the reservation policy as “non violative” of the guidelines laid down, Bains has sought directions “to modify the consolidated reservation policy for allotment of houses and plots for physically handicapped or the visually impaired”. The petitioner has also demanded that a “fresh and comprehensive scheme for fulfilling the mandate of Disabilities Act” shall be formulated.

The petitioner has been suffering from mental illness since 1985 and is undergoing treatment at PGIMER, Chandigarh, could not apply under the reserve categories due to the anomaly in the policy and the advertisement and had to apply in the general category.

“This relief shall be provided to all the similar situated persons and also to earmark at least one seventh of the plots (category wise) exclusively for the mentally ill persons (out of the three percent plots collectively reserved for physically handicapped/ blind persons) for which the authorities have invited applications in the Aero City, Mohali and for grant of any other relief,” Bains demanded. The petitioner has demanded separate reservation for mentally ill persons other than the reservation already prescribed for physically disabled persons.

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