Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Failure to implement Disabilities Act makes Madras High Court initiates Contempt Proceedings against Chief Secretary


Here is a news coming from Madras High Court. Though the notices of the contempt have been delayed at the request of Advocate General but it indicates the seriousness with which the Court is looking at the continued defiance.

Times of India and The Hindu have covered the stories as below. More soon....

Times of India

A Subramani,TNN | Feb 11, 2014, 01.06 PM IST

CHENNAI: Lambasting top bureaucrats of Tamil Nadu for their failure to furnish data relating to backlog of vacancies for disabled persons in various government departments, the Madras high court has initiated contempt of court proceedings against chief secretary Sheela Balakrishnan and two other officers.

According to the statute, there shall be reservation of 3% of all available vacancies for disabled persons. While the court had passed necessary orders nearly two years ago, the issue gained importance after last month's Supreme Court ruling directing all state governments to set apart 3% of all available vacancies for disabled persons.

Justice S Manikumar, pointing out that at least 23 government departments have not furnished required details of backlog vacancies despite several adjournments and directives, said: "Though repeatedly, this court has issued orders to identify the posts in 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' categories and consequently, to fill up the posts as expeditiously as possible, the process is on and on and from the materials produced before this court, out of 34 secretarial heads, 140 Heads of Departments, 102 government undertakings, including universities and 54 companies owned and controlled by the government, only 70 HoDs have furnished the details of 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' categories."

"So far, 50 out of 102 government undertakings and boards, etc., have furnished the details. No clear details have been furnished by about the 54 companies owned and controlled by the government," Justice Manikumar said.

He then said: "This court is constrained to issue contempt notices to Sheela Balakrishnan, chief secretary of Tamil Nadu and head of Monitoring Committee for Differently Abled, P Sivasankaran, secretary of Welfare of Differently Abled department and Manivasan, commissioner for the differently abled, to explain as to why further course of action should not be taken under the Contempt of Courts Act. Registry is directed to issue necessary statutory notices to the above said persons."

However, after advocate-general A L Somayaji requested the court to postpone the issuance of the statutory notice, which would require the personal appearance of the officers concerned, the judge said the officers could make necessary applications if they complied with directions of the high court and the Supreme Court.

The Hindu

CHENNAI, February 12, 2014


Observing that the differently-abled have been taken for a ride by the State government, the Madras High Court has ordered issue of contempt notices to three top officials, including the Chief Secretary, for violating the orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court in the matter of filling up vacancies in ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ categories by differently-abled persons.

Besides the Chief Secretary, Sheela Balakrishnan, notices were ordered to be issued against the Secretary, Welfare of Differently-Abled Persons Department, P.Sivasankaran and the State Commissioner for the Differently-Abled, Manivasan.

Following the Advocate-General, A.L.Somayaji’s request to postpone the issue of the notice, Justice S.Manikumar ordered that if the officials concerned comply with the Court directions in letter and spirit, they could file necessary applications.

Passing an interim order on three writ petitions filed in 2004, the Judge said the Court had, in April 2012, directed the authorities to identify ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts in government departments, boards, public sector undertakings, corporations, companies owned by the government and educational institutions. Subsequently, the government had issued a G.O. on January 29 last year directing the establishments to identify the posts and to implement the three per cent reservation for the differently-abled.

Mr. Justice Manikumar said no details had been furnished, as to whether the Secretaries had implemented the instructions given.

Though repeatedly the Court issued orders to identify the posts under the four categories and fill up the posts as expeditiously as possible, the process was getting delayed.

Only 50 out of the 102 government undertakings, boards, etc., had furnished the details. No clear details had been furnished about 54 government-owned companies. He said the authorities were seeking adjournments time and again.

During the last hearing, the State Commissioner for the Differently-Abled filed an affidavit taking a different stand altogether and submitted that the whole process should be reworked considering the Tamil Nadu Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules.

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