Showing posts with label Civil Services for Visually Impaired. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil Services for Visually Impaired. Show all posts

Monday, June 29, 2015

UPSC discriminates against disabled in Civil Services Exam - PIL

HC notice on PIL on quota for disabled in civil services exam
Last Updated: Saturday, June 20, 2015 - 00:58

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre and UPSC on a plea by an organisation for disabled persons seeking quashing of the civil services exam notification alleging non-implementation of statutory three per cent quota for handicapped persons.

A bench of justices Mukta Gupta and P S Teji issued notice to the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and sought their reply by July 15 on the plea by Sambhavana which has alleged non-compliance of high court's orders.

Sambhavana has claimed that as per the examination notice, approximately 1129 vacancies are expected to be filled, out of which only five vacancies have been reserved for candidates with visual impairment, whereas the Supreme Court in 2013 had held that three per cent reservation on total number of vacancies in the cadre strength have to be reserved against candidates with disabilities.

In its PIL filed through advocates Pankaj Sinha and Nupur Grover, Sambhavana has alleged "blatant disregard" on the part of the central government and UPSC for neither following high court's orders nor complying with provisions of the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act.

"The examination is also being conducted in contravention of the guidelines for conducting written examination for Persons with Disabilities notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which have also been held to be mandatorily followed in various judgements passed by this court," the petition has said.

Besides not implementing the quota, it has said UPSC also did not adopt the exam writing policy for disabled on the basis of guidelines of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD).

It has claimed that due to non-implementation of the high court's directions, disabled aspirants are unable to give exams in an accessible environment.

The organisation has said that as per the PWD Act, it is the statutory obligation of the government to "appoint not less than three per cent vacancies for the persons or class of persons with disabilities".

"This implies that the minimum level of representation of persons with disabilities deals with the distribution of this three per cent among the three categories of disabilities namely, blind and low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disabled or cerebral palsy and hence, one per cent of seats should be reserved for each of the said categories," it has said.

"It is pertinent to note that in the impugned examination notice, the three per cent reservation has not been adequately meted out by Respondent No. 2 (UPSC) and hence, discrimination on the basis of blindness has been clearly shown," the plea has said.

The petition has sought equal bifurcation of the vacancies amongst the three categories as well as directions to the government and UPSC to implement the executive order of Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, with respect to "uniform guidelines for scribes for persons with disabilities."

It has also sought "filling up of all backlog vacancies of persons with disabilities arising since 1996 till date".  

PTI/ Zee News



Thursday, March 5, 2015

Delhi HC directs UPSC to distribute vacancies equally [Judgement included)

Dear Colleages,

Please refer to my earlier post titled "Two High Courts direct Extra time, reasonable accommodation & reservation in CSE 2014" whererin writ petition was filed before the Delhi High Court as well as Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of UPSC's Notification Civil Services Examination 2014 on the grounds that it was against the rights of persons with visual impairments granted by the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995. 

While my earlier post contained the judgement of the case filed in Mumbai High Court and an interim order in the case filed in Delhi High Court, this post contains the final order passed in the case before the Delhi High Court bearing  WP (C) No. 3919 of 2014 titled Sambhavana Vs. Union of India and others dated 04 March 2015.

Directions by the Court 

(a) the respondent no.2 UPSC shall find out from the respective Cadre Controlling Authorities the reason for allocating the vacancies in excess of 3% unequally between the three categories aforesaid.

(b) if the Cadre Controlling Authorities are unable to give any valid reason, the vacancies in excess of 3% shall also be equally distributed between the persons with disability of all three categories and the appointments in pursuance to the Employment Notice impugned in the petition shall be made accordingly.

(c) Relief claimed seeking issuance of a direction to the respondents to comply with the Office Order dated 26th February, 2013 supra is concerned, we had in our order dated 19 th August, 2014 held that the guidelines contained therein were issued as per the directions of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities who is an Authority appointed under Section 57(1) of the Act and cannot be treated as mere executive instructions and the said guidelines having been issued for effective implementation of the provisions of the Disabilities Act, have statutory force and are bound to be implemented by all Departments and Authorities. No arguments whatsoever were addressed on the said aspect by the learned counsel for the respondents during the hearing of the writ petition and therefore, we hold with respect to the said prayer that the respondent no.2 - UPSC shall abide by the said guidelines for all times to come unless the same are varied in accordance with law.




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Visually Impaired Civil Service aspirants await appointments


The focus of the write-up by Mr. Subhash Ghatage (kafila.org) is the plight of four candidates – all of them visually challenged – who had cleared the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) examinations way back in 2008, scored more marks than many ‘normal’ students and were still waiting for appointment letters. The Commission as everybody knows is India’s central agency authorised to conduct civil services and other important examinations.

The caller said that he was one among the four and shared with me the long struggle he along with others were engaged in to get their due. Apathy exhibited by people in the higher echelons of the Commission as far as visually challenged persons are concerned is really disturbing. And it was not for the first time that it had failed to give appointment letters to such candidates. Merely three years back Ravi Prakash Gupta had to approach the highest courts of the country namely the Supreme Court to get his appointment letter. Last February it was the Prime Minister’s Office  which had to intervene so that seven candidates from similar category could join their duty.

A recap of the appointments done between the period 1996 to 2008 tells us that only 15 visually challenged candidates have been recommended by UPSC, while almost 6900 vacancies were filled during this period. Among 15, 12 candidates have been recommended or upgraded after court orders.

While officially nothing is said about the inordinate delay by the commission in this particular case, it is evident in their action that candidates from this category are unwelcome. In fact, there seems to be a deliberate attempt to restrict the entry of such candidates, at times even by, glossing over the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. e.g. A petition by the caller ( Mr Pankaj Srivastava) tells us how in the year 2008

‘[t]otal 891 candidates were declared succesful but only four candidates from visualy challenged category were recommended by the commission, whereas it should be 9 according to the PWD act 1995.’

Despite the fact that Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) gave a favourable decision, the Commission is still engaged in delaying tactics. It even refused to calculate the backlog according to the necessary provisions of the act since 1996 when the Tribunal specifically asked it to do so. As a report in a leading national daily tells us (Times of India, 16 th Sep 2013) “

Between the four of them, they have filed two applications and one contempt petition against their non-appointment in the Central Administrative Tribunal. The tribunal ruled in their favour each time. There is a High Court stay order on one CAT order of May 2012 directing the authorities to appoint the four candidates, which is to be heard on September 24.”

It was late 70 s when Frank Bowe, a disability rights activist from US had written a monograph ‘Handicapping America’ (1978) in which he tried to explain how the key issue in any debate around disability is the societal response to it. For Bowe, the main point was not the status of physical or mental impairment of a particular person, but the way society develops strategies to cope with it.

One does not know when the obdurate bureaucracy at the Commission would become more aware and sensitive to the fact that there is a sea change in the perception about disability now. If earlier dominant trend in the disability discourse revolved around adoption of ‘social welfare measures’ and the world was bit far away from taking it up as a ‘human rights issue’with the adoption of an international convention in 2006 welfare and charity have been replaced by new rights and freedoms and there is growing recognition that a change of attitude is vital if disabled people are to achieve equal status.

We are told that the commission annually submits a report of its work to the President of India which is also sent to each house of the Parliament for discussion. One just expects that honourable members of the parliament – who have enough lung power left to point out acts of omission and commission on part of the government or the treasury benches ever contemplating strategies to strike back, would at least find time to go through the reports and see for oneself the great hiatus which exists between rosy picture about disability welfare which is presented through the ‘official’ reports and the actual situation on the ground.

.......continue to read from source: No country for Visually Challenged by Subhash Ghatade

Tuesday, March 23, 1993

Supreme Court of India | National Federation Of Blind Vs. Union Public Service Commission | Dated 23 Mar 1993

Context of the Judgement

The visually impaired persons constitute a significant section of our  society. As  it is  necessary  to  encourage   their participation  in every walk of life, the Central  Ministry of Welfare has been undertaking various measures to  utilise their potentialities.  The Governments have launched schemes to  educate, train and provide them with useful employment. The Central Government has provided 3% reservation in  Group C and D posts for PH candidates (including blind and partially blind, while demand is growing for reservations in Group A and B posts.

The Standing Committee of the Ministry of Welfare undertook identification of jobs in these categories and submitted its report on October 31, 1986.  Para 8 thereof related to the blind. It took note of reading and writing deficiency and suggested  the provision of allowance.  And found  that the specified 416 posts in Group A and B are suitable for  blind and  partially blind.  So, the Ministry of Personnel  issued office memorandum dated November 25, 1986 a  accepting the report and took policy decision regarding identification  of jobs for the physically handicapped persons in Group A and B posts filled to be by direct recruitment in Central  Government Services and Public Sector Undertakings.

This  court  examined  the memorandum  and  found  that the Government had taken cognizance of the identified jobs; that the Government had decided about the recruitment of  handicapped persons  to these posts; that the departments would supplement the list further;  that the Ministries/ Departments would inform the UPSC about preferential treatment to handicapped candidates; that  the UPSC had agreed in principle to  give preference; and  that the Department of Personnel and Training would  be issuing general instructions for the purpose.

However, the decisions were not implemented for seven years. Therefore, the petitioner approached Hon'ble Supreme Court seeking a  writ  in the nature of mandamus directing the Union of India and the UPSC to permit the blind candidates to compete for the I.A.S. and Allied Services and to provide them facility of  writing the  civil services examination either in Braille Script  or with the help of a scribe.

On hearing the counsel for the petitioner, himself  visually handicapped, the Hon'ble Court, held as below :-

The performance of the counsel for the  petitioner before us  has amply proved the point that  the  visually handicapped  persons can perform the jobs entrusted to them with  equal  efficiency.  However the question  of  giving preference  to the handicapped in the matter of recruitment to  the identified posts is a matter for the  Government  of India  to decide.  The Government of India is  commended  to decide the question of providing preference/reservation  to the handicapped in Group A and B Posts.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court further held that there are number of post  which are  required  to  be  filled  through the  civil  services examinations and other competitive examinations conducted by the  Commission,  so the observations of the UPSC  that the posts  identified as suitable to be held by  the  physically handicapped  persons, particularly those identified for the blind  were  not  required  to be filled  on  the  basis  of competitive   examination  conducted  by   the Commission, appeared to be incorrect.  Group  A  and  B posts in  the category  of  Administrative Officers  are necessarily to be filled as a result of  civil services  examination  held  by the UPSC.  If  some  of the identified  posts in the Indian Administrative Service and other  Allied  Services can  be  filled  from amongst the visually  handicapped persons, there was no reason why they should not be permitted to sit and write the civil  services examination.

Judgement:

Equivalent citations: 1993 AIR 1916, 1993 SCR (2) 556

PETITIONER: NATIONAL FEDERATION OF BLIND
Vs.
RESPONDENT: UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION AND OTHERS

DATE OF JUDGMENT 23/03/1993

BENCH:
KULDIP SINGH (J)
KASLIWAL, N.M. (J)

 CITATION:
 1993 AIR 1916          1993 SCR  (2) 556
 1993 SCC  (2) 411     JT 1993 (2) 541
 1993 SCALE  (2)181

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
Writ Petition (C) No. 655 of 1991. 
(Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India). 

Santosh Kumar Rungta and R.P. Gupta for the Petitioner.
V.C. Mahajan, Ms. Niranjana Singh and Ms. A. Subhashini for the Respondents.

Judgment Authored by KULDIP SINGH, J.

National Federation of Blind a representative body of visually handicapped persons in India has filed this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the Union of India and the Union Public Service Commission to permit the blind candidates to compete for the Indian Administrative Service and the Allied Services and further to provide them the facility of writing and civil services examination either in Braille-script or with the help of a Scribe. Braille is a system of writing for the blind in which the characters consist of raised dots to be read by the fingers. Further relief sought in the petition is that Group A and B posts in Government and public sector undertakings which have already been identified for the visually handicapped persons be offered to them on preferential basis.

The visually handicapped constitute a significant section of our society and as such it is necessary to encourage their participation in every walk of life. The Ministry of Welfare, Government of India has been undertaking various measures to utilise the potentialities of the visually handicapped persons. The Central as well as the State Governments have launched several schemes to educate, train and provide useful employment to the handicapped. The Central Government has provided reservations to the extent of 3% vacancies in Group C and D posts for the physically handicapped including blind and partially blind. There has been a growing demand from the visually handicapped persons to provide reservations for them in Group A and B posts under the Central Government. The Ministry of Welfare, Government of India has a standing Committee or identification of jobs in various Ministries/Departments and public sector undertakings for the physically handicapped. By an order dated December 30, 1985 the Government of India directed the Standing Committee to undertake the identification of jobs for the handicapped in Group A and B Services under the Government and public sector undertakings.

The Committee submitted its report which was published on October 31, 1986. Copy of the report has been placed on the record of this petition. In the introduction to the report given by Mr. M.C. Narsimhan, Joint Secretary to Government of India and Chairman, Stating committee on identification of jobs for handicapped, it has been stated as under:-
"A Sub Committee, which was set up to assist the Standing Committee visited a large number of Public Sector Undertakings and observed people actually working in a variety of jobs and the working conditions in which these jobs are performed. The Sub Committee had detailed discussions with the Chiefs and Senior Officers of the Public Sector Undertakings as also with officers of the Central Government Departments. A fist of the public sector undertakings and the list of the officers of the Undertakings with whom the Sub Committee had discussions is annexed to the report. The Committee after detailed discussions and on- the-spot study has prepared a comprehensive list of 416 categories in Group A and B posts in Government Offices and Public Sector Undertakings, with their jobs descriptions, the physical requirement of each group of job and matched them with various categories of disabilities."
The Committee devoted special attention to the visually handicapped. Para 8 of the report which relates to the blind is as under:-

"However, in the case of the blind the position is somewhat different. Seeing, reading, writing and movement are essential ingredients of most Government jobs. Therefore, a similar approach in respect of blind persons may be difficult. It would not be possible to generalise that blind person can do most jobs as we have found for those with locomotor and hearing disabilities. The Committee found that in higher posts is Government the help of a personal assistant or a stenographer is generally available. But this facility is. not available even in higher posts in public sector undertakings. Wherever this facility is available a blind person may not find it difficult, in certain groups of posts, to handle the job. It is also possible, in relation to other posts where stenographic assistance is not available that some other facilities can be provided to a blind employee. To compensate 'reading deficiency, readers' allowance can be provided to blind employees to enable them to engage a reader.

Similarly, to compensate for "writing deficiency", the blind employee should be required to know typing. Adequate knowledge of typing should be prescribed as an essential qualification for blind employees for public employment. Where mobility may also be one of the main ingredients of a job it is difficult to compensate blind employees for this "deficiency. The Committee would also emphasise that the blind employee should be fully responsible for the duties assigned to them, despite the provision of reader's allowance and typing skill. The Committee would also suggest that the maximum reader's allowance should be limited to Rs.200 p.m. to blind employees recruited to Group A and B post.' The Committee has identified about 416 categories of Group A and B posts which are suitable for the handicapped. The Committee has further specified that the visually handicapped (blind and partially blind) are suitable for appointment to the following categories of Group A and B post:-

No. in the List       Category of       Group
Annexed to the Post
Report
------------------------------------------------------------
178 to 187      Hindi officers                    A & B
191 to 192      Job Analyst                    A & B
193 to 199      Labour Welfare Officers     A & B    
200 to 209      Law Officers                    A & B
237 to 242      Personal Assistants            B
243 to 256      Personnel Officers            A & B
279 to 291      Public Relations Officers    A & B
295 to 317      Research Officers            A & B
354 to 363      Training Officers            A & B
364 to 376 Administrative Officer
        (Non Secretarial)    A
377 to 384      Administrative Officers
       (Secretarial-Sr.)    A
385 to 401 Administrative Officers
        (Secretarial-Junior)            A & B
409          Asstt. Admin. Officer
------------------------------------------------------------

We have only quoted the list of categories from the report to illustrate the point that the Committee appointed by the Government has in its report identified certain categories of posts to which the blind and the partially-blind can be appointed.

Government of India Through Ministry of Personnel issued office memorandum dated November 25, 1986 wherein it accepted the report of the Committee and took a policy decision that in respect of the posts identified by the Committee the handicapped persons shall be given preference in the matter of recruitment to those posts. The office memorandum is re-produced hereunder:
"No.F.36034/4/86-Estt.(SCT) 
Government of India Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Department of Personnel & Training .............. 
New Delhi, the 25th November, 1986 
OFFICE MEMORANDUM 
Subject:- Identification of jobs for the physically handicapped persons in Groups 'A' and 'B' posts filled by direct recruitment in the Central Government services and Public Sector Undertakings. 
The undersigned is directed to say that with a view to effecting optimum utilisation of potentialities of physically handicapped which constitutes a significant section of the population in the country, the Ministry of Welfare constituted a Standing Committee for identification of jobs for the physically handicapped in the Central Government services and Public Sector Undertakings. 
The Standing Committee on identification of jobs set up a sub-Committee for on-the-spot identification of jobs for the physically handicapped persons in Group 'A and 'B' posts after making an in depth study of Undertakings as well as in consultation with the concerned authorities. 
This sub Committee in its Report (submitted to the parent Committee) identified 420 jobs in Group 'A' and Group posts/services alongwith the physical requirements and functional classifications of disabilities indicating what jobs can be held by each category of disabled people and with what disability. It has been decided that in respect of identified posts which can be held by physically handicapped persons preferences to physically handicapped persons will be ,given in the matter of recruitment to those posts. A copy of the report of the Committee referred to in para-1 is enclosed for information guidance and necessary action. The list of jobs identified by the Committee on suitable for being held by physically handicapped persons is not exhaustive. 
The Ministries/Departments can further supplement the list based on their knowledge for jobs requirements, essential qualifications etc. The Ministries/Departments after identifying all the posts which can be held by physically handicapped persons may inform the UPSC at the time of sending their requisitions for filling vacancies in respect of those posts, that preference is to be given to physically handicapped persons in the matter of recruitment. 
The UPSC have agreed in principle to give preference to physically handicapped persons in filling the identified posts. The Department of Personnel and Training will be issuing general instructions to enable preference being given to the physically handicapped persons in such cases. 
The Ministry of Finance etc. are requested to bring these instructions to the notice of all concerned.
Sd/-
(BATA K, DEY)
DIRECTOR (JCA)' 
From the office memorandum quoted above it is obvious that the Government of India has taken the following policy decisions to implement the Committee report:-
1. The Government of India has taken cognizance of the fact that the Standing Committee on identification of jobs through its Sub-Committee has identified 420 jobs in Group A and Group B posts/services along with the physical requirements and functional Classifications of disabilities indicating what jobs can be held by each category of disabled people and with what disability.
2. The decision has been taken that in respect of identified posts which can be held by physically handicapped persons preference to physically handicapped persons will be given in the matter of recruitment to those posts.
3. The list of jobs identified by the Committee is not exhaustive, the Ministries/Departments can further supplement the list based on their knowledge of job requirements, essential qualifications etc.
4. The Ministries/Departments after identifying all the posts which can be held by physically handicapped persons may inform the Union Public Service Commission at the time of sending their requisitions for filling vacancies in respect of those posts, that preference is to be given to physically handicapped persons in the matter of recruitment.
5. The Union Public Service Commission has agreed in principle to give preference to physically handicapped persons in filling identified posts.
6. The Department of Personnel and Training will be issuing general instructions to enable preference being given to the physically handicapped persons in such cases. 
Mr. S.K Rungta, learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that the memorandum dated November 25, 1986 was issued more than seven years back but so far the decisions taken therein have not been implemented. Mr. Rungta (himself visually handicapped) has argued his case with utmost clarity.  Mr. Rungta was fully conversant with all the relevant annexures to the petition. He referred to the relevant pages in the bulky paper book with perfect ease. We did not feel even for a moment that the case was being argued by a visually handicapped lawyer. Mr. Rungta's performance before us amply proves the point that the visually handicapped persons can perform the jobs entrusted to them with equal efficiency.

The question of giving preference to the handicapped in the matter of recruitment to the identified posts is a matter for the Government of India to decide. The matter is pending for decision with the Government of India for the last several years. While appreciating various measures undertaken by the Government to provide useful employment to the handicapped persons we commend the Government of India to decide the question of providing preference/reservation to the handicapped in Group A and B posts as expeditiously as possible.

So far as the claim of visually handicapped for writing the civil services examinations, in Braille-script or with the help of Scribe, is concerned, we are of the view that their demand is legally justified.

The fist of category A and B posts, identified as suitable for the visually handicapped by the Committee, includes number of posts which are filled as a result of the civil services examinations. When there are posts to which blind and partially-blind can be appointed, we see no ground to deprive them of their right to compete for those posts along with other candidates belonging to general category. Mr. V.K. Cherian, Under Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Personnel in his affidavit dated March 10, 1992 filed before this Court has stated as under:-

"If there were Group 'A' and 'B' jobs, which could be filled up by the blind, the same should also be identified. Once the jobs were identified, they could be filled up from among the blind and also other handicapped persons such as deaf and orthopaedically handicapped...... Going by the Report of the Committee and the posts identified by it, the Union Public Service Commission made the observation that the posts identified as suitable to be held by the physically handicapped persons, particularly those identified for the blind are not such which are required to be filled on the basis of competitive examination conducted by the Commission'.

The observations of the Union Public Service Commission as projected by Mr. V.K. Cherian in his above quoted affidavit do not seem to be correct. After going through the list of the posts identified as suitable for visually handicapped (blind and partially-blind) it is obvious that there are number of posts which are required to be filled through the civil services examination and other competitive examinations conducted by the Commission. Group A and B posts in the category of Administrative Officers (Secretarial-Senior) and Administrative Officer (Secretarial-Junior) are necessarily to be filled as a result of civil services examination by the Union Public Service Commission. If some of the posts in the Indian Administrative Service and other Allied Services, as identified by the Committee, can be filled from amongst the visually handicapped persons then we see no reason why they should not be permitted to sit and write the civil services examination. We make it clear that once recruited to the lowest level of the service the visually handicapped persons shall not be entitled to claim promotion to the higher posts in the service irrespective of the physical requirements of the jobs. If in the hierarchy of promotional-posts it is found by the Government that a particular post is not suitable for the visually handicapped person he shall not have any right to claim the said post.

In the light of the above discussion we partly allow the writ petition and direct the Government of India and the Union Public Service Commission to permit the visually handicapped (blind and partially-blind) eligible candidates to compete and write the civil services examination which is ordinarily held yearly by the Union Public Service Commission.

We further direct that they shall be permitted to write the examination in Braille-script or with the help of a Scribe. There shall be no orders as to costs.

Petition allowed partly.

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