Showing posts with label Disablity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disablity. Show all posts

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Delhi High Court directs Private Schools to appoint 2 special educators

Dear colleagues,

Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has directed private schools to appoint two special educators to respect the mandate of the RTE Act. The court had already directed the Govt. of Delhi to appoint 2 Special educators in all government schools. This is a welcome step and calls for drastic changes in the way we look at education of children with disabilities.

Here is the news report from the Time of India.

'Special educators must in private schools’
Abhinav Garg, TOI

NEW DELHI: Disabled students enrolled in private schools received a unique gift from the Delhi high court on Teachers' Day - special educators.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed all private unaided schools in the capital to hire two qualified special educators as per the mandate of the Right to Education Act (RTE).

The bench made it clear that special educators are required not just in government-run or aided schools but should also in private schools as they too enroll disabled students with special needs. HC was hearing a plea by civil rights organization Social Jurist which sought to extend appointment of special educators to private schools.

The court has already directed the government schools to appoint special educators for disabled children in 2009. It re-iterated the ruling earlier this year while hearing a contempt plea against the government for its failure to fill up vacancies for special educators.

The PIL, filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, highlighted that 2039 unaided private schools and 258 aided schools lack basic physical and academic infrastructure, including special educators for those suffering from blindness, hearing impairment or mental retardation. "The failure on the part of these unaided and aided schools to have these facilities in place violates the fundamental and human right to education of the children with disabilities as guaranteed to them by the Constitution, RTE Act (2009) and UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (2008)," the PIL had argued.

On its part, the state government agreed with the need to have special educators and said all the unaided private schools of Delhi are required to make provisions for special educators for children with special needs. Earlier HC had directed the action committee of unaided private schools to file affidavit explaining about their position on recruitment of special educators, availability of provisions of ramps and special toilets etc. for the children with disabilities.

Source: Times of India

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dear Friends,

Here is some news from the long awaited case which has not been concluded by the Hon'ble High Court as yet. The Govt. of Delhi is still contemplating assigning one special teacher for three schools which doesn't seem to be anywhere close to the promise of Inclusive Education that Govt. of India has tried to bring out in its recent Right to Education Bill ready for the assent of the President of India.

What you have to say?
SC Vashishth

To read from source click here

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)'s much-hyped decision to screen Bollywood movies such as Taare Zameen Par to educate teachers on ways to handle disabled students has angered the Delhi High Court.
The court suggested the Delhi government should instead form a committee to identify these children and treat them in a special manner to make their future bright.
On Wednesday, Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice Manmohan said Taare Zameen Par did not cover all aspects of disability, but was confined only to dyslexia.

The court observed that just by watching a film, a teacher won't be able to understand how to handle the special students.

"Proper mapping must be carried out by the government and the MCD to identify the number of disabled students. Secondly, the appointment of special, qualified teachers to take care of these students is an important aspect. The state must look into this matter seriously," Shah said.

The court suggested that a committee comprising a member each from the NCERT, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the MCD be formed to oversee the process.

The bench also said designated schools should have transportation facilities for these students.
The Delhi government said there were 1,746 MCD and 922 government schools, and the process of identifying disabled students was tough and could only be completed by next June.

The government counsel said it planned to appoint one teacher for every three schools. "If we go by the 1: 3 ratio, we would require 300 teachers in government schools and 600 teachers in the MCD schools with the required qualifications to teach these students," the chief justice said.

MCD schools have been facing major problems in teaching disabled students due to paucity of specially trained teachers. As it is, it is hard to find fully equipped schools to teach them. Though the MCD claims it has two or three students with disabilities in almost every school, the teachers have many a times expressed its inability to teach such students.

"Disabled students face many hurdles. First, the schools are reluctant to admit them. Even if they do, the teachers don't know how to handle them. The result: the children do not learn anything," Ashok Agarwal, the counsel of the petitioner, an NGO, said.

Agarwal said the government carried out mapping of such students in 2007. But with the help of 19,000 personnel, it was able to track only 1,511 students, he noted, questioning the efficacy of the procedure the government adopted for the exercise.

"Even after two years, the government is saying it is still carrying out the mapping process. It's a delaying tactic. Those students, who were identified, have not even been admitted to schools.
The government will take a year to identify these students. It is wasting an academic year of these students," Agarwal said.

"Disabled students face many hurdles. First, the schools are reluctant to admit them. Even if they do, the teachers don't know how to handle them. The result: the children do not learn anything," Ashok Agarwal, the counsel of the petitioner, an NGO, said.

Agarwal said the government carried out mapping of such students in 2007. But with the help of 19,000 personnel, it was able to track only 1,511 students, he noted, questioning the efficacy of the procedure the government adopted for the exercise.

"Even after two years, the government is saying it is still carrying out the mapping process. It's a delaying tactic. Those students, who were identified, have not even been admitted to schools.
The government will take a year to identify these students. It is wasting an academic year of these students," Agarwal said.

The court's suggestions:
  • The Delhi government must form a committee to identify disabled students and treat them in a special manner.
  • The MCD and the government must carry out proper mapping to identify the total number of such students in the government schools.
  • The state must appoint qualified teachers to take care of them.
  • A committee comprising a member each from the NCERT, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the MCD should supervise the entire process.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reflections on SC judgement on Efficiency a ground for denying promotion to PWD

Dear Friends,

After my last post on the subject, I studied the detailed judgement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court titled Union of India Versus Devendra Kumar Pant & Ors, Civil Appeal No. 4668 of 2007 and following are few reflections on the same:

  • The whole debate around Medical standards for Persons with disabilities is actually confusing to many disabled people including those with visual impairments that this judgement might affect them adversely. There is a general fear that on one hand the employers might use the clause of efficiency & medical standards against the persons with disabilities to deny them promotional avenues and on the other hand, people without a certain nature and extent of disabilities (read -disabilities not covered under PWD Act) might usurp the rights and facilities of those who are presently allowed the benefits under the Persons with Disabilities Act.

  • In this case, the Hon'ble Court failed to take in to cognizance that for a person with any disability to be eligible to a post for recruitment & reservation, there exist a List of Identified Jobs which can be held and performed by that category of persons with disability. The separate question of medical standards and disability will not arise here as the jobs have been identified taking in to account all such factors.

  • Although the identification list of no consequence in the present case as it relates to the right to promotion which can not be denied to the person on the grounds of Disability acquired. If the person is unable to do the job, reasonable accommodation must be tried and use of modern technology should be promoted to help him settle in new role. If even that fails, he can be shifted on equivalent posts within the same department.

  • The court has coined a new interpretation of Efficiency as a necessary condition besides minimum medical standards under Section 47 which is not in sync with the spirit of PWD Act. The purpose of Section 47 is not to recruit a person afresh but rehabilitating an employee who has acquired disability during his service, hence including clauses of medical standards and efficiency seem to be misplaced. Also Efficiency is subjective and when attached to disabilities can be misinterpreted and misused by bureaucrats, employers etc in their own way allowing grounds for discrimination rather than reducing and minimizing them.

  • Incidentally, none of the posts in question i.e. Junior Research Assistant, Senior RA and Chief RA, are identified for persons with Blindness or Low vision, therefore, it hardly affects the rights of visually challenged in the Country.

  • Though the respondent is not a person with disability in terms of the Medicalised definitions given in the Persons with Disabilities Act as neither the Colour blindness is defined as a type of disability nor the disability of the respondent has been assessed to be above 40%. However, Section 47 is a social security and human rights provision to ensure continuity of support from the Government in case an employee of the Government acquires disability during his service.
    Thus, to me here, the degree and extent of disability is of no relevance for the purposes of Section 47 (1) as the said person should be allowed to save his job under this provision, even if his disability is less than 40% for the simple fact that he is not claiming the 3% reservations available for the three categories of disabilities.

  • If degree and percentage of disability is made relevant here to attract this section, then any employee acquiring less than 40% disability would be left without any rights and social security that this Section intends to guarantee.

  • However, in case his disability is more than 40 %, he would be surely authorized to claim other benefits available to Persons with disabilities under the PWD Act besides saving his job under Section 47 (1).

  • Therefore, if the Hon’ble Court had shown a little bit of judicial craftsmanship, it may have been possible to expand the definition of disability to include within its ambit the lack of or reduction in colour perception. On earlier occasions, Delhi High Court had considered a person with heart ailment as person with disability to save his job under section 47. This would have given a wider and appropriate interpretation to the Section 47.

  • However, in the instant case, the issue was of denial of promotion and not saving the job.
    As claimed by the Respondent, the job of the all the three levels is same and earlier the post of Junior Research Assistant, Senior Research Assistant were suitable for Medical Category B3 and B2 respectively while the Chief Research Assistant was required to have B1 medical category (that requires person to be free from colourblindness). The same stood revised in 1990 as B1 for all three successive posts.

  • However, the old employees were allowed to continue on their existing posts even if they were below B-1 (post revision category). The respondent is Medical Category B-2 currently and holding the post of Senior Research Assistant for which currently B-1 is the requirement as per revised standards of 1990. If the job is almost similar, then the rule of medical standards seems highly misplaced. Also if the old employees with lower medical categories can continue to hold and work on the present posts (now requiring B-1) without being a risk to safety, security and efficiency, then the same employees could also be promoted using same logic.

  • However, looking at the judgement from a cross disability perspective, and from the perspective of UNCRPD, the Hon'ble Court has once again perpetrated the age old view of looking at impairments from the medical point of view i.e. the individual's condition and impairment in the body is seen as the problem and not the inaccessible social structures around. In fact the whole human rights agenda has been thrown to the back burners.

  • The UNCRPD doesn’t make mention of degree and extent of disability in terms of percentage and types, the way PWD Act does, Hence, it perpetrates the medical model of disability. The domestic Act is desperately in need of amendments to be in sync with UNCRPD.

  • Also the employer, i.e. RDSO did not explore any possibilities of reasonable accommodation which could make possible conditions of work of higher post which amounts to discriminatory exclusion. Whether Chief Research Assistant work during night and whether the job could be done easily with special equipments/devices was never explored in this case. The whole attempt was to declare him to be 'medically unfit' for the promotion by blindly following the revised medical standards. Colour Blindness is not a disease but a condition, thus discrimination on this ground is surely against the tenets of UNCRPD, if not of PWD Act which is constrained by medicalised definitions of various disabilities.

The judgement has left a bitter taste in the mouth of activists in the field and the disappointment is because of the inability of the Apex Court to arrive at a reasonable conclusion after considering all issues involved in the case and the UNCRPD & human rights philosophy.


SC Vashishth, Advocate

Friday, July 3, 2009

AP High Courts questions its own Registrar General on rejecting Blind lawyer for the post of Judge!

Dear Friends,

Another good news. This time from Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. A blind lawyer R Varahalaswami applied for posts of civil judge but faced rejection on the grounds of disability at the hands of Registrar General of AP High Court.

When challenged in the High Court, he gets a favourable order. The High Court even asked the petitioner to challenge the Recruitment Rules of the AP High Court! (Asked to challenge its own rules!!!!)

Another success after Tamilnadu! I am longing to see such a success in Delhi Judiciary Examination soon. Mind you, Delhi High Court has already amended its rules to accommodate the quota of Persons with Disabilities and reserved posts too some 3-4 years back. But till date no successful entry!!


Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Here is the latest story from Times of India :

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court, on Thursday, accorded permission to a blind man for appearing for a screening test for the post of civil judge and also write the relevant written examination with the help of an assistant.

R Varahalaswami, a 28-year-old visually challenged advocate from Guntur applied for the post of a civil judge in June when the HC notified the posts for filling them up through a screening test and interview.

The judicial authorities rejected his application on June 16 saying that he has hundred per cent blindness and hence cannot be considered for this post. Swami approached the High Court challenging the rejection of his application. B Venkateswarlu, counsel for the petitioner arguing before a division bench comprising Justice Ghulam Mohammed and Justice Vilas V Afzulpurkar, contended that the proceedings of the Registrar General of the High Court were contrary to the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1955.

He said that the Act provides for 3 per cent reservations for persons with disability in every establishment of which one per cent should be reserved for persons suffering from blindness or low vision.

He maintained that the Registrar General in his notification issued for the recruitment of civil judges did not prescribe any disqualification to the 100 per cent visually challenged applicants.

The counsel told the court that the Madras High Court has appointed a totally blind person as a Munsif and he was also given posting as third additional district munsif at Coimbatore on June 1, this year.

The bench directed the Registrar General to allow the petitioner to attend to the screening test scheduled to be held on July 5 and provide an assistant to guide the petitioner during the test. It also told the petitioner to challenge the recruitment rules of the AP High Court in this regard.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Need of Sensitive & Aware Judges in the High Courts

Dear Friends,

In the instant case, I am delighted that a senior judge of a High Court had the sensitivity, to use his extra ordinary jurisdiction, to protect the person and properties of a Person with Disability (Intellectual Disability). However, I am also at a loss of words to explain what I feel on the lack of awareness of the National Trust Act 1999 in the judiciary!

I strongly feel that we in the disability sector have to take this responsibility also to spread the message across and yes there is a urgent need to raise the awareness level of the Judicial Officers also especially in various High Courts of India who often use their extra-ordinary jurisdictions and writ jurisdictions to decide matters relating to Fundamental Rights of the marginalised sections of the soceity like the present one.

Appended is the News. To read from Source click on Source: Express regards,

Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Advocate-Disability Rights

There is a law to protect the mentally retarded

Scaria Meledam First Published : 09 Mar 2009 01:39:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 09 Mar 2009 01:43:25 PM IST

The ‘Law Watch’ published on January 26, 2009 had reported about the exercise of the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of the High Court by Justice V Giri to appoint a guardian to protect the person and properties of a mentally retarded person since the Mental Health Act did not contain a provision for such appointment and to point out the need to correct the lacuna in the Act by a suitable amendment.

Referring to the action, Dr (Mrs) Rajam P R S Pillay from Thiruvananthapuram has written a letter pointing out that the Court had missed the fact that there was an Act providing the appointment of legal guardians for mentally retarded persons and thus filling the lacuna in the Mental Health Act.

The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 (for short, The National Trust Act), provides for the constitution of the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability. The head office of the Trust is in New Delhi and it has offices at other places in India. The general superintendence, directive and management of the affairs and business of the Trust is vested with a board consisting of a chairman and 20 members. The board should constitute a local-level committee for a specified area. The committee consists of a civil service officer, a representative of a registered organisation and a person with disability.

Section 14 of the Act provides for guardianship.
A parent of a person with disability or his relative can make an application to the local-level committee for appointment of any person of his choice to act as a guardian of the persons with disability. Any registered organisation also can make an application to the local- level committee for appointment of a guardian for a person with disability. While considering the application for appointment of a guardian, the local-level committee should consider whether the person with disability needs a guardian and the purposes for which the guardianship is required and then make recommendation for the appointment of a guardian. It can also provide for the obligations of the guardian.

Section 15 details the duties of Guardian:
Every person appointed as a guardian of a person with disability should, wherever required, either have the care of such persons of disability and his property or be responsible for the maintenance of the person with disability. Every guardian should, within six months of his appointment, deliver to the authority which appointed him an inventory of immovable properties belonging to the person with disability and all assets and other movable property received on his behalf together with a statement of all claims due to and all debts and liabilities due by the person with disability. Every guardian should also furnish to the appointing authority within three months after the close of every financial year an account of the property and assets in his charge, the sums received and disbursed on account of the person with disability and the balance remaining with him.

There is also a provision for the removal of guardian: Whenever a parent or a relative of a person with disability or a registered organisation finds that the guardian is abusing or neglecting a person with disability; or misappropriating or neglecting the property, they should apply to the committee for the removal of the guardian. Then the committee should, if it is satisfied that there is a ground for removal, remove the guardian, recording reasons for the same and appoint a new guardian or make other arrangements for the care and protection of person with disability. The removed guardian is bound to deliver the charge of all properties of the person with disability to the new guardian and to account for all moneys received or disbursed by him.

The P R S Pillay Memorial Trust of which Dr Rajam is the managing trustee, is the state nodal agency centre of the National Trust which has constituted the local-level committees in all districts under the chairmanship of District Collectors.