Showing posts with label Jobs for mentally ill in government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jobs for mentally ill in government. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Extend legal protetction for impairments not covered under the PwD Act 1995 - mandate of SC

Please refer to earlier post titled "SC directs the Govt. to give suitable jobs to employees with Mental Illness" dated 19 August 2012. Here is the coverage on the issue from The Hindu.


The case of the 1977-batch Indian Administrative Service officer, whose compulsory retirement on grounds of  disability the Supreme Court has overturned, sets a strong precedent on the codification of protections against contingencies that arise during service. A two-judge bench upheld Anil Kumar Mahajan’s appeal against an earlier  decision that sought to curtail his tenure by five years. Interpreting the 1995 law on disabilities, the bench ruled that those who acquire an impairment while in service had to be accommodated in a position appropriate to their current condition. Where such adjustment was not available, the government was obliged to retain them in a supernumerary status, pending the identification of one, until the age of superannuation. The message emanating from the judgment is unambiguous, even if only a fraction of the disabled, estimated at nearly 10 per cent of India’s population, is in formal employment. It is relevant no less to the large numbers rendered severely impaired for life on account of the notoriously high rates of road accidents, not to mention industrial mishaps. The verdict also drives home the necessity, both within the administration and beyond, to recognize disability as a dimension of social diversity. To the extent that this is a relatively new reality, reflected in the workplace and several walks of life, public and private institutions would have to become responsive. It is hard to conceive of a more effective advocacy on disability than policies of accommodation that can potentially counter prevailing prejudice and stereotypes.

As regards recruitment under the Union Public Service Commission, a number of persons with different disabilities have begun to join the ranks in recent times. In fact, the question of identification of suitable placements across different services has come into the spotlight, illustrating the need to fashion a comprehensive approach on the absorption of new appointees. The landmark verdict, if anything, underscores yet again the urgent need for Parliament to enact fresh legislation in this area. This is imperative following India’s ratification, way back in 2007, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is the way forward on extending legal protection for categories of impairments that are not covered under the current law and give fresh impetus to realise the goals of inclusive education. The newly constituted department of disability affairs in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment should strive towards bringing the law-making process to fruition at the earliest. For, every single day lost to procedural delays affects the life prospects of millions.

Source: The Hindu

Monday, August 19, 2013

SC directs the Govt. to give suitable jobs to employees with Mental Illness

Dear Colleagues,

In a path-breaking development, the Supreme Court while quoting Section 47 has set aside the Order of Compulsory retirement of the 1977 batch IAS officer and directed DoPT to pay him the full salary, except the subsistence allowance already received, for the period from the date of initiation of departmental proceeding till his date of superannuation.

Though, the Supreme Court has done some justice with the case, but it is loo late and too less. The said has been suffering at the hands of whimsical department who not only suffered at the hands of inquiry committee instituted in 1993 that took 11 years to give its finding declaring him insane. The officer was compulsorily retired thereafter.

There are various candidates who, having lived with mental illness and rehabilitated after a regular course of medication are not given any benefit of reservation or of preference in appointment in the civil services or any other service under the government. The draft of new Act though includes mental illness as one of the condition eligible for reservation in jobs under the disability quota however, one never know how long will this process take for the law to take shape and extend benefits to those living with disabilities not included in the existing Act. The act itself is discriminatory towards many other conditions since it is based on a medical model and goes strictly by the medical conditions, hence in effect renders many others excluded though equally or more marginalized and disabled.

Here is the news coverage from Hindustan Times.

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 19, 2013

State administration cannot dispense with ore reduce rank of a government servant if he or she acquires disability including mental illness or retardation during service, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Quoting the provisions of The Persons with disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 a bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice SJ Mukopadhyaya held that if a person is found unsuitable for the post he or she holds on account of acquired disability during service, he or she should be moved to another post suitable to his or her state.

The bench further held that under section 47 of the Act if it wasn't possible to adjust such a person against any post, the government authority ought to keep him or her on a supernumerary post until a suitable one is available until the employee attains the age of superannuation.

With these observations the court recently directed the Union Ministry of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to pay consequential benefits to a 1977 batch IAS officer, Anil Kumar Mahajan, who was compulsorily retired from service on October 15 2007 after a disciplinary inquiry declared him insane. The inquiry report came 11 years after it was instituted in 1993 when he worked with the Bihar government.

At the time of inquiry the officer was placed under suspension twice. His representation for a voluntary retirement was turned down by the DoPT on the ground he hadn't completed the minimum service of 20 years. Later, however, the ministry compulsorily retired him.

Mahajan later challenged the findings of the disciplinary proceedings before the Central Administrative Tribunal, which turned down his plea.

However, on his appeal the SC set aside the order of compulsory retirement and said: "The appellant was appointed in the service of respondents as an IAS officer and joined in the year 1977. He served for 30 years till the order of his compulsory retirement was issued on October 15, 2007. It is not the case of the respondents (DoPT) that the appellant was insane and in spite of that he was appointed as an IAS Officer in 1977."

Observing "some problem was going on between the appellant and authorities of the state (Bihar)," the court said: "In view of the aforesaid finding, we are of the view that it was not open to the authorities to dispense with the service of  appellant or to compulsory retire him from service."

The court further said: "The High Court also failed to notice the relevant fact and without going into the merit allowed the counsel to withdraw the writ petition merely on the basis of the finding of Inquiry Officer."

Since in normal course Mahajan would have retired from service on July 31, 2012, the SC directed DoPT to pay him the full salary, except the subsistence allowance already received, for the period from the date of initiation of departmental proceeding till his date of superannuation.