Showing posts with label Orissa High Court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orissa High Court. Show all posts

Friday, July 7, 2023

Orissa HC issues contempt notice to Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri on lack of accessibility and dignified access to devotees with disabiliites

Court:  High Court of Orissa at Cuttack

Bench: Hon'ble Justice Biswanath Rath

Case No: CONTC NO.3478 OF 2023 

Arising from Case:   W.P.(C).No.2697 of 2022 decided on 28.02.2022

Case Title:  Jitendra Kumar Biswal  versus Gajapati Maharaja Dibya Singh Deb, Chairman, Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri & Ors. 

Date of Order/Contempt Notice: 07.07.2023


A prominent disability right activist and a wheelchair user himself filed a second contempt petition in Orissa High Court following State government’s failure to provide accessible facilities for disabled particularly wheelchair user devotee's access to 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, despite the court twice ordering to do so.

The issue was first raised by the present petitioner Jitendra Kumar Biswal (50), a resident of Bhubaneswar, a person with disability and also a disability rights activist, who filed a PIL seeking judicial intervention for facilitating the free movement of devotees who are wheelchair users, within the temple complex in January 2022. 

While disposing of the petition on February 28, 2022, the Hight Court had said, “In view of the urgency involved in this matter and as a decision in the matter is required to be taken by the administrative authority at the first hand, this court directs that Shree Jagannath Temple Committee and chief administrator, Puri Jagannath Temple to collectively take a lawful decision in the matter by treating the petition as a representation at the instance of the petitioner.”

However, Biswal filed a contempt petition when the order was not complied with. Acting on it, the HC on December 20 last year said, “Considering this is the first contempt petition, this court disposes of the same directing all the contemnors (chairman of temple managing committee, chief administrator, Puri Jagannath Temple and collector, Puri) to work out the February 28, 2022 direction of this court in the disposal of the petition/representation at least within a further period of one month.”.

But petitioner was forced to file a fresh (second) contempt petition. The petitioner expects authorities to make designated space within the inner sanctum of Jagannath Temple for wheelchair-using devotees to offer their prayers and to have a clear view of the three deities. He also expected the authorities to make other provisions that may be required within the temple complex for the free movement of wheelchair-using devotees. 

During March 2023, there were media reports that the Temple Administration were proposing to provide special services. According to the proposal, the PwD devotees will be carried to the sanctum sanctorum by volunteers on their back just like it is done by ‘pithoos’ at Amarnath and Vaishno Devi temples. Around 30 devotees will be taken inside the temple through the existing ramp at the north gate (Uttara Dwara) of the shrine every day.

As per the preliminary proposal, the PwD visitors will have to book their visit to the temple through a dedicated portal and produce a 100 per cent disability certificate before entry. They can be accompanied by one family member. At the Uttara Dwara, a reception centre with a bathroom has been proposed to be set up where the devotees can wait for their turn.  

It was reported that the sevayats have agreed that such devotees can be provided a special darshan from 2 pm to 4 pm after the Bhoga mandapa rituals are over and when entry of general devotees is closed.

It was proposed that from the Uttara Dwara, the PwD visitors will be carried to Jay Bijaya Dwara through Ghanti Dwara for ‘darshan’ and brought back through the same route. For this purpose, the Suara and Maha Suara servitors can be roped in as they have experience of carrying head loads of bhoga in the temple. A devotee can re-book a visit to the temple only after two months of the first visit. However, these proposals have not found favour with the usergroups since this doesn't address the accessibility of the place and engages in to practices of physically lifting devotees with disabilities as sac of patotoes compromising with their dignity, respect and equal right to worship.

The contempt petition is against the following as named contemnors:-  

1) Gajapati Maharaja Dibya Singha Deb, Chairman, Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri
2) Ranjan Kumar Dash, Chief Administrator Puri, Jagannath Temple Puri.
3) Samarth Verma, The Collector, Puri.

The petition alleges violation of this Court’s direction in disposal of W.P.(C).No.2697 of 2022 on 28.02.2022. There is serious allegation that more than one year has passed in the meanwhile and there is no compliance to the direction of this Court in the above writ petition.

"This Court hopes and trusts that by the next date of posting of the matter, there shall be arrangement for removing the inconvenience faced by the senior citizen or the handicapped people in having their visiting and observing the deities in the Lord Jagannath temple." says the order issuing contempt notice.

Below is the copy of the order:

In a tweet, the petitioner Mr. Jitendra Kumar Biswal, expressed his hope in following terms: 

Here is the Order disposing off the original writ petition W.P.(C).No.2697 of 2022 filed by same petitioner in 28 Feb 2022.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Orissa HC quashes revised merit list for MBBS-BDS admission that puts disabled applicant from 5th to 33rd position.

Court:  High Court of Orissa at Cuttack

Bench: Dr. Justice B.R. Sarangi, and  Mr. Justice G. Satapathy, Justice

Case No. W.P (C) No. 28438 of 2022

Caste Title: Abhisek Bhabani Panda Vs.  State of Odisha and others

Date of Judgemement: 02.11.2022 

Case Brief:

A bench of Orissa high court quashed the revised merit list published by Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) for admission into MBBS-BDS courses saying that it can't be changed unilaterally because a right has already been accrued in favour of the candidates whose name finds a place in the final merit list.

"It is well settled in law that once the rule of the game is started, the same cannot be changed at the midst," observed the two-judge bench of Justice B R Sarangi and Justice Gourishankar Satapathy. The October 19 revised merit list was published while counselling was on after the final list was out on October 18, 2022.

The petitioner whose name found mention in 5th place in the Disability category in the final merit list, had filed a petition seeking intervention against the revised list that had put his name in 33rd position, as it reduced his chances of getting admission in a government college. 

The bench said the merit list should not have been revised causing problem for candidates. "Needless to say, the final merit list was published by the authorities in consonance with the law and pursuant to the advertisement issued by them as well as the prospectus provided for. But in the name of subsequent change of law, publication of the revised merit list in the midst itself causes great prejudice to the candidates, who had already been selected," the bench observed in the order.

"This court is of the considered view that the revised final state merit list for MBBS/BDS admission 2022-23 (after the 1st round) of OJEE-2022, dated 19.10.2022, cannot sustain in the eye of law and the same is liable to be quashed and is hereby quashed." ruled the bench.

It further ruled, "As such, the final merit list prepared by the authority vide Annexure-5 dated 18.10.2022 stands as it is, so far as physically challenged category is concerned. The opposite party nos.2 and 3 are directed to extend the benefit admissible to the physically challenged category candiates, in terms of the final State merit list published for MBBS/BDS admission 2022-23(After the 1st round) of the Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE-2022) under Annexure-5 dated 18.10.2022. As the counselling is going to expire on 04.11.2022, the petitioner shall be given opportunity to participate in the counselling.

Read the order/judgement here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Orissa HC: Draw a seperate list for implementing horizontal reservation of ex-servicemen.

Court: Orissa High Court, Cuttack

Bench: Hon'ble Justice Dr. A.K.Rath

Case No.:  WP(C) No.15104 of 2015

Case Title: Bishnu Prasada Dash  Vs.  Governor Reserve Bank Of India And Ors

Author: A.K. Rath

Date of judgment: 20 April 2016

Cases Referred:

Case in Brief: 

The Reserve Bank of India issued an advertisement, vide Annexure-1, in the employment news to fill up the posts of Assistant. Twenty five posts of Assistant were earmarked for Bhubaneswar region out of which, one was reserved for disabled ex-servicemen and three posts for ex-servicemen (normal). The educational qualification for the posts of Assistant was Bachelor's Degree in any discipline with a minimum of 50% marks (pass class for SC/ST/PWD candidates). For ex-servicemen, a candidate should be a graduate from a recognized University or should have passed the matriculation or its equivalent examination of the Armed Forces and rendered at least 15 years of defence service. The selection was to be made on the basis of candidate's performance in the written examination as well as interview. The petitioner being eligible applied for the same. He was the only ex-serviceman candidate and called for the interview. But then, he was not selected. He applied for the information under the RTI Act. The same was provided to him on 17.4.2015, vide Annexure-4, wherein it was indicated that the reservation for ex-servicemen was horizontal and included in the vacancies for various categories. The recruitment of ex-servicemen in each recruitment drive was made taking into consideration the general policy of reservation, wherein the upper ceiling is 50%. The select list of the Assistants of the year 2014 annexed thereto indicates that the general candidates who had secured 189 marks had been selected. Pursuant to his complaint dated 12.1.2015, he got an e-mail message, vide Annexure-5, wherein it is stated that the reservation for ex-servicemen was horizontal and included in the vacancies of various categories. Since ex-servicemen were getting extended relaxation in age, qualification etc., they had to be included in the "select list" of categories (UR/SC/ST/OBC) to which they belonged to, provided, they could be included in such list in the normal course. He made an appeal to the opposite party no.1. While the matter stood thus, he received the letter dated 9.6.2015, vide Annexure-7, which indicates that the marks secured by him were less than the marks scored by last candidate selected in the general category. Therefore, as per the extant policy followed by the bank, he was not selected in the final list. The Bank was guided by the OM 36012/58/92 Estt(SCT) dated 01.12.1994 issued by Government of India. It provides that horizontal reservations cut across vertical reservation (in what was called interlocking reservation) and the persons selected against these reservations had to be placed in the appropriate category. Even after providing for these horizontal reservations, the percentage of reservation in favour of backward class of citizens should remain the same. Thus only those ex- servicemen who qualify in the respective categories were selected. Hence the petition.

The court observed that the cases of persons with disabilities and ex-servicemen are implemented through horizontal reservation system and the principle of horizontal reservation has been succinctly stated in Indra Sawhney Vs. Union ofIndia, 1992 Supp. (3) SCC 217. In paragraph 95, the apex Court held thus: 
"95. ....all reservations are not of the same nature. There are two types of reservations, which may, for the sake of convenience, be referred to as 'vertical reservations' and 'horizontal reservations'. The reservations in favour of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes [under Article 16(4)] may be called vertical reservations whereas reservations in favour of physically handicapped [under Clause (1) of Article 16] can be referred to as horizontal reservations. Horizontal reservations cut across the vertical reservations - what is called interlocking reservations. To be more precise, suppose 3% of the vacancies are reserved in favour of physically handicapped persons; this would be a reservation relatable to Clause (1) of Article 16. The persons selected against this quota will be placed in the appropriate category; if he belongs to S.C. category he will be placed in that quota by making necessary adjustments; similarly, if he belongs to open competition (O.C.) category, he will be placed in that category by making necessary adjustments. Even after providing for these horizontal reservations, the percentage of reservations in favour of backward class of citizens remains - and should remain - the same."
The court further observed that on a survey of earlier decisions, the Supreme Court in the case of Rajesh Kumar Daria v. Rajasthan Public Service, AIR 2007 SC 2137 enumerated the principle of horizontal reservation and the manner of filling up the vacancies. This applies to the case of petitioner.

The court concluded that the petitioner is the only ex-serviceman candidate. He was selected in the written as well as viva-voce test. He secured 180 marks. His case was denuded on the ground that opposite party no.4 secured 189 marks. The principle enumerated in Rajesh Kumar Daria applies to the reserved category candidates (horizontal reservation) belonging to ex-servicemen. Since the petitioner was the only ex-serviceman candidate and selected, he ought to have been selected by deleting the corresponding number of candidates from the bottom of such list relating to other ex- serviceman so as to ensure that the final ex-serviceman candidate contains one ex-serviceman candidate.

Read the judgement below: