Showing posts with label Court of Chief Commissioner-Disabilities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Court of Chief Commissioner-Disabilities. Show all posts

Monday, July 3, 2023

CCPD directs IBPS to allow examinee with vision disabilities to use digital magnifier during examination as a reasonable accommodation

Court: Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities

Date of Judgement: 03 July 2023

In a significant ruling, the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) addressed the case of a complainant with substantial hearing and visual disabilities seeking accommodation during the Institute of Banking and Personnel Services (IBPS) examination. The complainant, facing 93% hearing impairment and 75% visual impairment, requested the use of a digital magnifier to participate in the examination, crucial for reading questions displayed on a computer screen and subsequently recording answers on paper with the aid of a scribe.

IBPS, however, denied the use of the digital magnifier citing concerns over potential unfair advantages due to its photo capture and storage capabilities.

Legal Framework and Decision:

Under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the CCPD emphasized the obligation of the government to provide "reasonable accommodation" to persons with disabilities. The Commissioner underscored that such accommodation is not discretionary but a mandated protection against discrimination. The refusal to accommodate the complainant’s request was deemed discriminatory under this provision.

Commissioner’s Recommendation:

In response to the case, the CCPD directed IBPS to either vet the complainant's digital magnifier prior to the examination or alternatively provide an appropriate device themselves. This decision underscores the importance of accommodating technological aids that enable persons with disabilities to participate fully and fairly in competitive examinations.

This ruling sets a precedent for ensuring equitable access and opportunity for persons with disabilities in public examinations, reinforcing the principles of inclusivity and non-discrimination as enshrined in Indian disability rights law particularly teh concept of 'reasonable accommodation'.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chief Commissioner Disabilities directs UPSC to withdraw discriminatory performa

UPSC asked to withdraw ‘discriminatory proforma’

The Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disability has directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to withdraw its “discriminatory performa”. It has directed the UPSC to refrain from asking persons with disabilities to submit photographs showing their disabilities and to consider the ‘permanent disability certificate’ issued from a government hospital as a valid proof.

The action comes following an intervention by Dr. Satendra Singh, who has been working in the area of disability rights and had written to the UPSC against “its discriminatory policies”.

“Despite having a valid disability certificate, the UPSC asks all applicants to use their own format for disability certificate. This is against the existing guidelines but nobody challenged the UPSC. Moreover, the format asks applicants to paste ‘photo showing disability’, which is not only discriminatory but also infringement of right to privacy. An example – how can an amputee female attach her photograph?’’ asked Dr. Singh.

He added that in a follow-up to his complaint, he also quoted the Amended Persons with Disabilities Rules 2009, which were circulated to all the Ministries/Departments (Rules 3 to 6 of Chapter II relating to Disability Certificate as per Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s notification in November 2013.

“The amended rules show the format to be used for disability certificate and none of them asks ‘to showcase disability’,” said the physician.

He further pointed out that Rule 6 of the same order clearly states that a certificate issued under Rule 4 is to be generally valid for all purpose. “When a person already has a valid government certificate of permanent disability why does he have to get his disability certificate again in the prescribed form of the UPSC?’’ questioned Dr. Singh.

Source: The Hindu

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CCPD directs Election Commission of India to make its website accessible within 30 days

EC warned to make website differently-abled friendly

New Delhi, August 18, 2014

Pressure from disability rights activists has prompted the Court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities to issue a stern warning and ultimatum to the Election Commission of India (ECI) asking it to make its website user friendly for persons with disabilities.

The ECI has been given a 30-day deadline (from July 31 onwards) to comply and make amends.

Dr. Satendra Singh, a polio survivor and assistant professor of physiology at the University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, who has been pursuing the case said: “The ECI has been directed to intimate the Court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities within 30 days about the action taken on the direction.”

Dr. Singh added that while Delhi has made its website accessible for persons with disability the same has not been made available to the rest of the country.

“The visually impaired need to have a user-friendly website to ensure that they are able to make an informed choice before voting. Though we have been appealing to the ECI since December last year there has been no response from them,” said Dr. Singh.

“Despite my letters, the ECI did not budge and did not make their website accessible to differently-abled voters. There are Prime Minister Office (PMO) orders as well as guidelines whereby all government institutions must make their websites accessible to the differently-abled. However, we are hoping that things will improve now,” said Dr. Singh.

Accusing the ECI of having violated the orders issued by the PMO in 2010, Dr. Singh said: “The current direction by the Court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities we hope will work favourably for the differently-abled and give them the right to vote in a well informed manner.’’

The visually impaired need to have a user-friendly website to ensure that they are able to make an informed choice before voting

Source: The Hindu

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Delhi HC redefines the Scope of Powers of Chief Commissioner Disabilities

Dear Friends,

The Delhi High Court has been increasingly relying on the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD in short) for disposal of cases / writ petitions filed on the subjects involving issues related to disability rights. The High Court has been transferring petitions and asking parties to appear before the CCPD with directions to CCPD to decide the matter within a time bound manner.

We had seen earlier that the High Court sought intervention of the court of CCPD in coming to a conclusion on a matter related to nursery admission for children with disabilities under the RTE and. 

Now the Hon'ble Court has issued the mandamus thereby forwarding the PILs filed by Score Foundation & AICB  against DSSB and, Govt. of Delhi challenging  an advertisement issued by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) as the said advertisement did not provide reservation for the visually impaired on two posts, which are identified for this disability category. These posts are Special Educator and TGT Computer Teacher’ stenographer & telephone operator.

While passing an important order on 8th May, 2014 in the matter, the Delhi High Court ruled that the post of Computer Teacher in schools is deemed to be identified for reservation and appointment of the visually impaired. 

The  High Court issuing the mandamus that Chief Commissioner will decide the matter and issue directions in the matter pronounced an empowering interpretation of Section 58 of the Persons With Disabilities Act. The court stated that the Chief Commissioner for Persons With Disabilities is a “Statutory body” who has the powers to “Ensure that the rights made available to persons with disabilities are given effect to. Meaning thereby, those who are subject to the provisions of the Act are to be made accountable for their acts and if it is found that an organization is not implementing the provisions of the Act the said organization being compelled to do so”.

The judgment further goes on to state “this would mean that the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has the statutory power to ensure that such posts which are identified for reservation concerning visually differently abled persons are filled up from the said/category of persons”.

While referring the two petitions in reference for final adjudication to the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, The High Court directed that the CCPD would dispose of the matter in three days time and his orders would be complied with by all concerned without “demur”.

This important judgment will not only ensure equitable reservation for visually impaired persons in recruitments, but also provide much needed teeth to the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities to enforce his directions. Needless to say that this judgement can be cited in various states wherever the respondents organisations challenge the power of the Court of Commissioner Disabilities.

Click here  for the Common Judgement of the Hon'ble High Court in the following two cases clubbed together     (in PDF)     (in Word File) :

  • WP (C) 1675 of 2014 titled Score Foundation and Anr Versus Min. of Social Justice and Empowerment & Others
  • WP (C) 2848 of 2014 titled All India Confederation of Blind Versus DSSB and Others
The Chief Commissioner for persons with disabilities subsequently heard the matter and ordered the Ministry of Social Justice to reanalyse and submit a consolidated list of identified posts for persons with disabilities and ordered DSSSB to republish posts for, and reserve one percent seats for persons with visual impairment. 

Click here for the Judgement of The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (Accessible typed PDF copy)    (Scanned copy of original Order)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Court of CCPD issues notices to Department of Disability Affairs, GOI

Dear Colleagues,

Even after more than 16 years of the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, there is no Uniform Guideline for availing scribes and writers by the persons with Low Vision and Blindness. The candidates continue to suffer in absence of such guidelines and are often on the mercy of the institution/ departments  both in the matter of studies as well as employment.

A recent PIL by the undersigned against ICAI for putting forth unreasonable guidelines for blind students was just an example in the recent past of such hardships faced by the visually impaired students/persons. Please see my earlier posts dated 26 April 2012 and 02 May 2012 on the subject. The court did solve the problem with its pro-active Order the same day for visually impaired students of ICAI but how many students and how many times will be able to afford going to knock the doors of judiciary?

In the year 2005, All India Confederation of Blind had also drafted a detailed guideline for the scribe highlighting the issues and shared with the Chief Commissioner Disabilities and the  concerned Ministry. This was also discussed during the annual meeting of the State Commissioner's Disabilities in subsequent year. However, it remained pending for a long time due to inaction of the then Disability Division (now Department of Disability Affairs).

Through a consultative process lead by Score Foundation, over 70 organisations working with the Persons with disabilities in India (especially Low Vision and Blind) to which I have been a party myself, had suggested an exhaustive document titled "Uniform Guidelines for Conducting Examinations (Practicals and/or Theory) for Blind and Low Vision Persons" and sent to  of Social Justice & Empowerment for their acceptance. However, it seems the Ministry has some other priorities than the every day sufferings of the stakeholders for which it exists.

The Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal department to coordinate the implementation of the Disabilities Act but have not acted on the issue in the interest of justice to alleviate the hardships of the stakeholders and sitting over the above guidelines for a pretty long time leading to untold miseries and hardships to the stakeholders.

In an unprecedented manner, the Court of Chief Commissioner Disabilities has issued notice to the sister department i.e. Department of Disability Affairs, under the same Ministry and sought explanation in the following unequivocal words:

"Take this show cause notice and explain as to why the Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt, of India, should not be directed to finalise, issue & circulate to all concerned comprehensive and uniform guidelines/norms for conduct of all examinations (both academic & recruitment related) as soon as may be keeping in mind, among other things, the suggestions of the complainants; and, pending finalisation, issuance and circulation of such comprehensive guidelines/norms, to circulate to all concerned the proposed guidelines/norms submitted by Score Foundation vide their letter dated 06.06.2012 for persons with blindness and persons with low vision and evolved by several organisations including Score Foundation on or before 20.10.2012 under intimation to this Court. The respondent department's reply should also explain reasons for the inordinate delay in finalisation, issuance and circulation of such comprehensive and uniform guidelines/norms for all persons with disabilities.

The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has further directed the respondent Department to appear before the Court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in person or through a representative (not below the level of Group 'A (Class-l officer) or a counsel well versed with the case and with all the related documents on 02/11/2012 at 3.00 p.m. to present the case unless uniform and comprehensive policy for conduct of all kinds of examinations for all persons with disabilities is duly finalised and notified before that date."

To read/download the Show Cause Notice click here.

I congratulate Mr. PK Pincha, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt of India for rising up to the expectations in discharge of his constitutional duties under the law. I am hopeful that the officials of the Disability Division will not take it as an adversorial litigation like many other cases in which they keep defending the Ministry's (in)actions in the Delhi High Court and other forums- issue of sign language interpreter being just one odd example that is being contested by the Ministry for over two years now at the Government's expense!

It is an apathy on the part of the Ministry that the stakeholders- the persons with disabilities continue to suffer and it has to defend cases due to its in-actions in various courts and now face this show cause from a constitutional authority like CCPD. Hope the Department of Disability Affairs will notify the guideline without any delay before the next date of hearing in the court of CCPD i.e. 02nd November 2012.


Adv Subhash C Vashishth

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Discharged on request with undertaking- will not seek pension- illegal, arbitrary & bad in law

 Dear friends,

Here is a fit case that has come to light which reinforces that the principals of natural justice can't be overruled with illegal undertakings got signed from the outgoing employees. Disregarding the earlier rejection of the petition by lower court and also refusal from Punjab and Haryana High court, the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) decided the disability pension case in favour of the retired subedar, a day before i.e. on 09th March 2010.

The Subedar was discharged on his own request and the employer got an undertaking signed from him that he would not claim any pension. The court held it absoutely illegal, arbitrary and bad in law. Though the matter took a long time but finally some justice seems to be coming through.

This matter also indicates that specific courts can do much better job in rendering justice than a regular or general court. The same holds true for matters relating to disability- where our experience confirms that the Court of Chief Commissioner-Disabilities constituted under the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 has done far better job while CAT and High Court went on against the petitioners in similar matters.

SC Vashishth, Advocate-Disability Rights

To read from source click here:  VRS no ground for rejecting pension, says defence tribunal

The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) decided a disability pension case in favour of a retired subedar on Tuesday. The case had earlier been rejected by a lower court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the grounds that the army personnel had given an undertaking at the time of voluntary retirement stating he would not claim disability pension.

Citing the decision of the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in the case of Mahavir Singh Narwal versus Union of India of 2005 in support of this case, the Chandigarh bench of AFT, comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prasad and Lieutenant General (retired) Justice N S Brar, decided that the lower court was neither legal nor justified and had wrongly rejected the suit of the petitioner.

The bench decided that the petitioner, former subedar Rohtash Singh, resident of Umrawal village, district Bhiwani, was entitled to get disability pension from the date of his discharge plus the arrears of three years prior to filing of the suit with eight per cent annual interest. It was stated that the rejection of Singh’s claim for grant of disability pension on the grounds that he was discharged from service at his own request and gave an undertaking that he would not claim any pension was absolutely illegal, arbitrary and bad in law.

Rohtash Singh joined the Regiment of Artillery on May 25, 1967. He had a head injury after he met with a serious accident on September 26, 1989.

The medical board proceedings conducted by the Military Hospital in Ambala Cantonment awarded him 30 per cent disability and he was discharged on September 1, 1992.

He approached the appropriate authority for the grant of disability pension, which was rejected by the Artillery Record, Nasik, on January 12, 1994, on the plea that he was discharged at his own request and hence not entitled for disability pension. He also filed an appeal against the rejection of his appeal which was also rejected by the competent authority on July 22, 1994.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court relegated the matter to the civil court on August 12, 2005. The civil court also rejected Singh’s appeal on the grounds that he was discharged from service at his own request on extreme compassionate grounds as per the Army Headquarters and he has approached the court after the lapse of nine years of rejection of his appeal.