Showing posts with label Section 33 of persons with Disabilities Act 1995. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Section 33 of persons with Disabilities Act 1995. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Gujrat HC Judge, Advocate & Govt Pleader work in tandem to grant appointment to candidate with Cerebral Palsy [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

A single bench of Gujarat High Court has asked the State Govt. to appoint a man with cerebral palsy on the post of Supervisor Instructor Class III in the ITIs.  Quoting from the official video of the "सुगम्य भारत अभियान” i.e. "Accessible India Campaign" a campaign of the Department of Empowerment of persons with disabilities says, “हक़ है बराबरी का, गर्व से जियेंगे ! ” i.e. to say “We have right to equality and we have right to live with honour and dignity”, the court said,  "This is one such case where a person, since has been refused such a right to equality and to lead the life with dignity and with self empowerment, has approached this Court invoking powers under Articles 14, 16 and 226 of Constitution of India.

The petitioner Sudhanshu Upendrabhai Chavda, a person with cerebral palsy (spastic quadriplegia) came to be selected in the process of recruitment on his own merit for the post of Supervisor Inspector(Class III). However, in a meeting between the petitioner and the members of Selection Committee, it was realized that the petitioner was not able to speak and write properly. Therefore, he was not found eligible for the said post on the ground that the post of technical supervisor requires a person to speak clearly/properly and make the subject to be understand well by the trainees.

Petitioner argued that not granting appointment to the petitioner defeats the very objective of the Persons with Disabilities [Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation] Act, 1995 [“Disabilities Act” hereinafter]. It was urged that the court needed to once speak to the petitioner and also keep in mind the decision of the Apex Court rendered in case of Saiyed Bashir -ud-din Qadri Vs. Nazir Ahmed Shah and Ors. in SLP(C) Nos. 10669-70 of 2008 which according to the petitioner was also a story of a person who had a struggle to be self dependent.

The Court after meeting the petitioner in person, found a very favourable impression and on realising the fact that his mental faculty was not in any manner affected despite his condition of cerebral palsy with spastic quadriplegia, requested the learned Government Pleader to take up the matter with the highest authority after once having a personal talk with him. 

The Govt. pleader accordingly had personal interview with the petitoner and having been convinced thereafter she chose to write to the Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment Department pursuant to the suggestions of the Court. The govt. pleader wrote:

“Upon the direction issued by the Hon'ble Court in the presence of the officers, I have personally also spoken to the petitioner. It appears that on account of cerebral palsy he is suffering from only Locomotor Disability and any other work in the nature of date entry, assessment of papers, preparation of training material etc. may be given to him. In any case the Hon'ble Court has directed the undersigned to speak to the highest authority in the department to find a way out. These are people who have struggled all their lives to achieve degrees and qualification against all odds. They all need to be encouraged. They merely need a government job. Having over come his physical disability, he has attained a Master in Computer Application (M.C.A) degree. The Hon'ble Court has directed that the State ought to consider this and take a sympathetic approach towards him and appoint him on some post in an ITI Institute, which would not be involving communication or speech skills.”

Accordingly, the department agreed to appoint him pursuant to the above communication. The court however, ordered that the petitioner shall be given the appointment order as mentioned hereinabove. If not granted within the stipulated time period, the petitioner shall be at liberty to approach this Court.

Rarely we find such instances where Courts take such interest to support the cause of people with disabilities. We have seen how cases are heard & disposed off mechanically. This deserves mention that in this case, not only the candidate was able, highly educated and full of confidence but the advocate representing the petitioner, judge and the govt. pleader - all worked in tandem to grant the petitioner relief.  

Judgement
To read the PDF judgement dated 28.12.2016 in Special Civil Application No. 17799 of 2016 titled  Sudhanshu Upendrabhai Chavda Vs. State of Gujarat & Ors., click here

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Chattisgarh High Court | CG State & its HC fail candidates with disabilities; State Administrative Services exempted from purview of Section 33 of Disability Act 1995 [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

We are increasingly coming across cases where Court judgements are failing the persons with disabilities! Despite commenting  in the judgement that the State action defeats the objective of Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 and cornering the State for its inaction/ omission, the judgements fail to render effective justice in favour of persons with disabilities.

I can cite several such cases that I have come across recently. But here we are discussing a most recent judgement from Chhattisgarh High Court, where a 100% blind candidate, who cleared Public Service Commission (PSC) Exam and got appointment as a Tahsildar, approached the high court seeking a direction to the state to grant upper age relaxation up to 10 years and to reserve vacancies not less than 3% for persons or class of persons with disability as per Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 for the post of Dy. Collector. The State defended saying that the benefit of age relaxation of 10 years was only available to Class-III and Class-IV posts as per the circular dated 12-2-1981 and not in Gp I and II. 

Also the State had already taken a retrograde step by issuing a notification dated 7-9- 2006 in accordance with the proviso to Section 33 of the Act of 1995 exempting the cadre posts of State Administrative Services from the operation of Section 33 of the Act of 1995 meaning thereby that there will be no reservation in  the cadre of State Administrative Service under section 33 of the Disabilities Act of 1995 in favour of persons with blindness or low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disability or cerebral palsy.

It would be pertinent to mention that while the cadre posts of administrative services have been identified as suitable to be held by persons with blindness and low vision among others by the Centre and several blind candidates are successfully working as IAS officers under the Union of India, while a state under Union of India called Chhatisgarh decides that disabled people can not function as administrative officers. 

Who gives the state (read bureaucrats) to pass judgement on the capability of blind administrative officers and decide to exempt the post from the purview of section 33. The action smacks of arbitrariness and discrimination on the grounds of disability and must have been quashed by the judiciary.

The Court instead of quashing the notification being in contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and giving relief to the candidate, dismissed the writ petition itself, saying that in light of the notification it can not give the petitioner any relief.

The judgement though reminded the State that the very object and purpose of the Disability Act 1995 is defeated if no reservation is provided for persons with disabilities in the cadre of State Administrative Service. And it directed the Chhatisgarh government to "reconsider" its notification which exempts the State Administrative Service from the requirement of providing reservation to the persons with disabilities preferably before the next notification  for examination for the posts are issued.

This direction/ judgement  literally fails the petitioner and is a joke played on "Right to Equality" enshrined in the Constitution of India. State is a perpetrator of injustice in this classic case and guilty of defying the constitutional mandate and the international commitments made by India to the international comity of nations by signing and ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Now mere direction to "reconsider" is no direction as the State could always defend its action saying it did consider as per the court direction but did not find it proper to give reservation in jobs to people with disabilities in State Administrative Services! Such an action or inaction of the State would never come under the meaning of "contempt of court"!

Road Ahead
The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Dr. Raman Singh, is a pro-development leader. The Prime Minister of India, Sh. Narendra Modi ji has been batting for the rights of persons with disabilities and has made his commitment public by ensuring that despite road blocks in the winter session, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 was passed by both houses of parliament & got assent of the President of India on 27th Dec 2016 to be eventually notified on 28th December 2016. Its the time to act swiftly and restore justice to the candidate in this session itself & providing enabling environment to promising candidate with disabilities so that the fabric of the state administrative services gets stronger & richer by contributions of this diversity.

We call upon the Hon'ble Chief Minister Sh. Raman Singh to act now and walk the talk - Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas - by withdrawing the exemption notification & appointing the blind candidate on the post of Tehsildar forthwith.

Download Judgement Copy


  • Judgement dated 02 Jan 2017 of the Chhattisgarh High Court in Writ Petition (S) No. 640 of 2014 titled Sanjay Sondhi Vs. State of Chhattisgarh and Ors
  • Or read directly in the embedded order below:


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

RPWD Bill 2016 & the Right to Reservation in Promotion for Employees with Disabilities

Dear Colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier post dated July 1, 2016 titled 'Supreme Court says Section 33 entitles reservation for employees with disabilities in promotion in Group A,B,C and D alike'. Subsequently on 15th Dec 2016, the Hon'ble Supreme Court rejected the Review Petition filed by the DoPT against the judgement thereby making the its said judgement final.


Meanwhile, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha (14 Dec 2016) and the Lok Sabha (16 Dec 2016) with over 119 amendment in the 2014 bill. Let me come straight to the concerned section dealing with the employment. I reproduce the concerned sections from 1995 Act and 2016 Bill below which clarifies things:


Extracts from PWD Act of 1995


32. Appropriate Governments shall--

(a) Identify posts, in the establishments, which can be reserved for the persons with disability;
(b) At periodical intervals not exceeding three years, review the list of posts identified and up-date the list taking into consideration the developments in technology.

33. Every appropriate Government shall appoint in every establishment such percentage of vacancies not less than three per cent. for persons or class of persons with disability of which one per cent. each shall be reserved for persons suffering from-

(i) Blindness or low vision;
(ii) Bearing impairment;
(iii) Loco motor disability or cerebral palsy, in the posts identified for each disability: 
Provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type of work carried on in any department or establishment, by notification subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notification, exempt any establishment from the provisions of this section.'

Extract from RPWD Bill 2016



'33. The appropriate Government shall—
(i) identify posts in the establishments which can be held by respective category of persons with benchmark disabilities in respect of the vacancies reserved in accordance with the provisions of section 34;
(ii) constitute an expert committee with representation of persons with benchmark disabilities for identification of such posts; and
(iii) undertake periodic review of the identified posts at an interval not exceeding three years

34. (1) Every appropriate Government shall appoint in every Government establishment, not less than four per cent. of the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts meant to be filled with persons with benchmark disabilities of which, one per cent. each shall be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses (a), (b) and (c) and one per cent. for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses (d) and (e), namely:—

(a) blindness and low vision;
(b) deaf and hard of hearing;
(c) locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy;
(d) autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
(e) multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including 35 deaf-blindness in the posts identified for each disabilities:

Provided that the reservation in promotion shall be in accordance with such instructions as are issued by the appropriate Government from time to time:

Provided further that the appropriate Government, in consultation with the Chief Commissioner or the State Commissioner, as the case may be, may, having regard to the type of work carried out in any Government establishment, by notification and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notifications exempt any Government establishment from the provisions of this section.'

The problem areas

The interpretation of this section 33 of the Act of 1995 meant that reservation in promotion was available to employees with disabilities in all groups i.e. ABC& D as held by Hon’ble Supreme Court on 09 Oct 2013 in 'Union of India Vs. National Federation of Blind' wherein court directed Govt. of India and State Governments to compute 3% reservation for persons with disabilities in all groups of posts against the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength. The Hon'ble Court also laid down that the computation had to be done in an identical manner in respect of all groups of posts as was being done for Gp C & D earlier. Subsequently, the Hon'ble Supreme Court vide its judgement dated 10 Dec 2013 in a case titled as MCD Vs. Manoj Kumar Gupta upheld a judgment of Hon'ble Delhi High court which declared that Section 33 of the Disabilities Act 1995, provided for reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities in Groups A and B also. Again in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 521/2008 titled Rajeev Kumar Gupta and Others Versus Union of India and Others court held that reservation in promotion has to be given in Gp A & B posts under section 33. 

Despite clear writing on the wall on the issue of reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities after the Supreme Court's clarification, the bill negates the judgement. It relegates the right to reservation in promotion to a provisio  where it is left with the appropriate governments to issue instructions from time to time! I would say this bill takes away reservation in promotion from the PwDs in a clandestine manner and leaves this to the mercy of the states who have never been serious about implementing the benevolent legislation.


A National Consultation on the RPWD Bill on 29-30 Dec 2016 in Delhi

The above is one example, there are host of others that we find are negating the rights of persons with disabilities and also these are not in conformity with the UNCRPD to which this Bill claims to align with. Lawyers, activists, persons with disabilities will put their mind to the Bill and analyse where its goes wrong and how can this be corrected to ensure that rights of persons with disabilities are not taken away under the garb of legislation. We invite you to this consultation that starts tomorrow. For more details please visit the page 'Invitation for National Consultation on RPWD Bill 2016 on 29-30 Dec 2016 at New Delhi'  


Will look forward to meeting and interacting with many of you tomorrow & day after.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Are meritorious candidates with disabilities pushed into disability quota against the spirit of Section 33?

Dear Colleagues,

The govt. departments, who should be complying with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act 1995 have been flouting these very provisions under different garbs. This is not a new phenomenon. I remember in April 2005, I had challenged on behalf of All India Confederation of the Blind an advertisement of Govt. of NCT of Delhi and UPSC for filling up 90 posts of Principals without giving 3% reservation for persons with disabilities. In the counter filed by the Delhi Govt. it was suggested that they will adjust all persons with disabilities against reserved quota even if they cleared on their own merit. The Hon'ble Court presided by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat then had given a categorical judgement saying this could not be allowed and issued rule. The Delhi Govt. even went in appeal through LPA No.2042, 2043 and 2044/2005, however, on 21 Dec 2005 vide a common judgement, the double bench headed by the Hon'ble Chief Justice and Justice Madam B Lokur dismissed the said appeals upholding that Article 46 of the Constitution provides that the State shall promote the interests of weaker sections and weaker section would include not just SCs and STs but also persons with disabilities. The court had dismissed the LPAs with directions that a candidate with disabilities who has qualified in the selection and whose merit is so high that if he were a general category candidate he would still have been selected, then his appointment will not be made against the quota of persons with disabilities. Such a candidate would be treated as if in the general category and the reserved seats of the disabled category will be calculated excluding him or be filled up accordingly.

In fact, this fact has been repeatedly held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court that concessions to help / enable a candidate appear in examinations cannot be termed as “reservation benefits“ if she/he qualifies on merit. [PGI Medical Education and Research V. K.L. Narasimham, (1997) 6 SCC 283]

The trend of subverting the laws against the marginalized section continues to be pushed by many employing departments rendering the minimum reservations as maximum reservations. As simple as age relaxations, fee relaxations, lower threshold of qualifying marks and additionally in case of disabled candidates - using a scribe or availing compensatory time during examination is being used as the basis to classify them as "reserved candidates". Using a scribe or compensatory time or fee/ age /qualifying marks relaxation can at best be considered as enabling provisions. These provisions can not be used to push them in to the "reservation quota" thereby defeating the original intent of such beneficial legislation.

The National Commission for SCs is examining this issue and has issued notice to UPSC, DoPT etc. on receipt of complaints from the stakeholders. The Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities on the other hand, has not taken any suo moto notice of several such cases happening right under their nose. This is an alarming situation where the statutory bodies are lagging behind in restoring justice to the most marginalized and have failed to protect their rights and equal participation in the spirit of the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Supreme Court says Section 33 entitles reservation for employees with disabilities in promotion in Group A,B,C & D alike [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier posts dated 02 March 15 and  10 Oct 14, on the subject. 

In a historic judgment in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 521/2008 titled Rajeev Kumar Gupta and Others Versus Union of India and Others, the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 30 Jun 2016 has set aside / quashed the two office memorandums No.36035/16/91-Estt. (SCT) dated 18.02.1997 and No.36035/3/2004-Estt. (RES) dated 29.12.2005 issued by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, terming them as illegal and inconsistent with the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

In the instant case the petitioners, Rajeev Kumar Gupta and seven other persons with disabilities serving as engineers in Prasar Bharti made the grievance that the higher level posts in the engineering cadre were filled mostly by promotion. Although these posts were suitable for persons with disabilities, the Government was denying them 3% reservation in these posts, which amounted to defeating the intent and purpose of reservation provided for in the Persons with Disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act, 1995. At the heart of the problem were the DoPT instructions dated 18.2.97 and 29.12.2005, which prohibited reservation in promotion for disabled persons in Group A and B posts. 

Petitioners had argued that a large number of Groups A and B were filled only through promotion and because of the impugned DoPT memorandums, the benefit of reservation under Section 33 of the 1995 Act was denied with respect to those posts. Petitioners therefore lost out on a significant amount of opportunities at the upper end of the organizational hierarchy.

The government opposed concession to the disabled, contending that they have no right to demand reservation in promotion to identified Group A and Group B posts. It also cited the nine-judge bench ruling by the apex court in the Indra Sawhney (Mandal reservation) case, to maintain reservation should be confined to recruitment at the initial level, and not at the stage of promotions.

It may be pertinent to mention that in the Indra Sawhney case while dealing with caste based reservation issue, the Bench had held "Reservation in promotion is constitutionally impermissible as, once the advantaged and disadvantaged are made equal and are brought in one class or group then any further benefit extended for promotion on the inequality existing prior to be brought in the group would be treating equals unequally. It would not be eradicating the effects of past discrimination but perpetuating it."

But the bench dismissed the government’s arguments, noting that once the posts for the disabled have been identified under Section 32 of the Act, the purpose behind such identification cannot be frustrated by prescribing a mode of recruitment which results in denial of statutory reservation.

“It would be a device to defraud persons with disabilities of the statutory benefit. Once a post is identified, it means that a person with disability is fully capable of discharging the functions associated with the identified post. Once found to be so capable, reservation under Section 33 to an extent of not less than 3 per cent must follow. Once the post is identified, it must be reserved for PWD irrespective of the mode of recruitment adopted by the State for filling up of the said post,” it held.

The bench further said that Indra Sawhney’s case shall not impose a bar on reservation for the disabled, since the principle laid down in this case is applicable only when the State seeks to give preferential treatment in the matter of employment to the backward class.

“The basis for providing reservation for persons with disabilities is physical disability and not any of the criteria forbidden under Article 16(1) such as caste, religion etc. The objective behind the 1995 Act is to integrate those living with disabilities into the society and to ensure their economic progress… persons with disabilities are not and cannot be equated with backward classes contemplated under Article 16(4),” it said. Article 16 of the Constitution empowers the state to prescribe preferential treatment to certain classes in matters of public employment.

The judgement is historic and a major milestone in the fight for restoring the rights of persons with disabilities in India. 

The argument in this case were concluded on 17.03.2016  and the bench had reserved the judgement.

The case, represents success in a hard fought battle waged by persons with disabilities for equal opportunity and representation in the higher echelons of Government. Hitherto, disabled persons were likely to stagnate at the lower levels of the organizational hierarchy, as their promotion to higher level posts was made difficult because of their physical disadvantage. 


Brief Background of related matters

It may be pertinent to mention that the Hon'ble Supreme Court  had on 08 Oct 2013 in the case titled Union of India vs. National Federation of the Blind delivered a land mark judgment directing the Govt, of India and State Governments to compute 3% reservation for persons with disabilities in all groups of posts against the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength. The Hon'ble Court also laid down that the computation had to be done in an identical manner in respect of all groups of posts. Subsequently, the Hon'ble Supreme Court vide its judgement dated 10 Dec 2013 in a case titled as MCD Vs. Manoj Kumar Gupta upheld a judgment of Hon'ble Delhi High court which declared that Section 33 of the Disabilities Act, provided for reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities in Groups A and B also.

But instead of implementing the judgement, the Govt. of India had been contesting the issue through various frivolous litigation which were nipped in the bud each time by the Hon'ble Court. 

Judgement Copy

(Hyperlinked text opens the judgement in a new windowJudgement dated 30 June 2016 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 521/2008 titled Rajeev Kumar Gupta and Others Versus Union of India and Others

Updates as on 04 Sep 2017 

The issue of whether persons with disabilities deserve reservation in promotions as well, apart from the reservation that exists in appointment, has been escalated by the Supreme Court to a five-judge bench since it requires interpretation by the Constitution bench.

On Monday (September 4, 2017) the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud heard deposition by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and counsels  requested a larger bench to hear the issue. The three judge bench headed by the Hon'ble Chief Justice Dipak Misra agreed to refer the matter to a five-judge bench.

The question that has arisen in this case is whether persons, governed under “The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995”, can be given reservation in promotion. A view had been taken by this Court in Rajeev Kumar Gupta & Others vs Union of India & Others in the affirmative. The Solicitor General had pointed out that the prohibition against reservation in promotion laid down by the majority in Indra Sawhney vs Union of India and Others – (1992) case applies not only to Article 16(4) but also to 16 (1) of the Constitution of India and inference to the contrary is not justified. Persons with disabilities certainly require preferential treatment and such preferential treatment may also cover reservation in appointment but not reservation in promotion. Section 33 of the 1995 Act is required to be read and construed in that background. “We find merit in the contention that the matter needs to be considered by the larger bench,” he said.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SC dismisses yet another attempt of Centre to sabotage reservation for employees with disabilities in promotion

Dear Colleagues,


Despite a three judge bench of the then Chief Justice, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman of the Hon'ble Supreme Court rejecting the Centre's argument against the reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities on 12th Sep 2014 in Special Leave to Appeal (C) CC No(s). 13344/2014  in terms of The Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, the Union of India (read DoPT) has been dilly-dallying on the implementation of the Bombay High Court judgement in PIL 106/2010 dated 04 Dec 2013 titled National Confederation for Development of Disabled Versus Union of India and Ors by preferring some or the other objections since September 2014.

However, finally on 27 Feb 2015, a bench of Hon'ble Chief Justice HL Dattu and Mr. Justice AK Sikri of Hon'ble Supreme Court, have once again dismissed a Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No 5914/2015 (Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 05/12/2014 in NOML No. 690/2014 in  RPL No. 85/2014 in PIL No. 106/2010 passed by the High Court Of Bombay). 

"How do you expect disabled persons to compete with the abled persons," the bench asked while dismissing the appeal filed by the Centre against the Bombay High Court order directing it and the Union Public Service Commission to implement a three per cent quota in direct recruitments and promotions for the disabled in the IAS.

Like last time, The Hon'ble Bench did not give specific reasons. For a copy of Supreme Court Order dated 27 Feb 2015 click here.

However, a large section of media was present in the Supreme Court and has reported the proceedings succinctly


A report in Times of India covers the entire proceedings as below:

Source: Times of India 

‘Disabled should get reservation in promotion’
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 28, 2015, 03.33AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said the government could not deny quota in promotion to those who were appointed to a post under the reservation policy for the physically handicapped. 

A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and A K Sikri rejected the Union government's plea to set aside a high court decision ordering that those appointed in government service through physically handicapped quota would also be entitled to reservation while getting promoted. 

Arguing for the Centre, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said there were four categories of civil services and if a person had availed the reservation benefit in getting a job, it would be unfair to extend the reservation benefit yet again to him while considering him for promotion to the higher category of service. 

The bench was not convinced. It said, "Why confine the reservation benefit only to the entry level and not for promotion. If a person is disabled, he is always disabled. So, as long as the disability continues, he should continue to get reservation benefits. We feel that these disabled persons should have reservation not only at the entry level but also at the time of promotion." 

The law provides for 3% reservation to physically challenged persons in government service. After a long adjudication process on a public interest litigation, the apex court had directed governments to implement the quota for disabled and fill the vacancies including backlog. 

On October 8, 2013, the SC in a landmark order had directed the Centre and states to implement within three months an 18-year-old law mandating 3% reservation for such persons in government jobs. 

The 1995 Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act came into force on February 7, 1996 providing a minimum 3% reservation in government establishments to the extent of 1% each for persons suffering from blindness or low vision; hearing impairment; and locomotor disability or cerebral palsy. 

The reservations will be implemented by all government departments, public sector undertakings and government companies at the Centre and states, enlarging opportunities for persons with disabilities eligible for benefits under the law. 

Rejecting the AG's arguments, the bench of Justices Dattu and Sikri said, "Don't give a restrictive meaning to reservation by confining it to the appointment level. Disabled persons should be empowered to compete with normal people in promotion." 

When the AG argued further against grant of reservation benefits in promotion to disabled persons, the bench cut it short by telling him that persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes got the benefit of reservation both in appointment and promotion. 




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CAT allows VH candidate to take exam for unidentified post

Now here, the Central Administrative Tribunal has put its mind to work unlike the traditional approach followed by the courts of mechanical interpretation of statutes. If the Government fails to identify posts where VH can work effectively, the VH candidates should not be made to suffer. Identification of posts has in fact become a roadblock for the competent candidates with disabilities to seek better career opportunities who are better placed  given the advancement in technology. Here is the detailed news appearing in Business Standard.

CAT allows visually impaired to participate in Auditor's exam

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  February 17, 2015 Last Updated at 18:40 IST

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has asked the government to allow a visually- impaired staffer to appear in an examination for promotion to the post of auditor, which was denied on the ground that the post was not suitable for the blind. 

A bench of CAT's judicial officer V Ajay Kumar asked the Centre to permit 41-year-old Mithlesh Choudhary, who is visually handicapped and also belongs to SC category, noting that "a prima facie case is made out". 

Choudhary, who is working as a Multi Tasking Staff at the Jaipur office of the Director, Post and Communication Audit, was barred from participating in the selection process for the post of Auditor on the ground that post was not suitable for blind persons. 

"In the circumstances and in view of prima facie case made out, respondents (Centre, Director, Post and Communication Audit and others) are directed to permit Choudhary to participate in the departmental examination for the post Auditor scheduled to be held on February 24 to 27, 2015, provisionally," the bench said. 

However, the tribunal made it clear that his result shall not be declared until further orders are passed by CAT. 

The interim order was passed by the tribunal after applicant's counsel Aurobindo Ghose, while citing an order passed by CAT in a similar matter, argued before it that Choudhary was entitled for direction to participate in the departmental examination for the post of Auditor.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Not convinced, Court directs second revision in DoPT Memo 29.12.2005 on Reservation for PwDs

Dear Friends,

Post the directions of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court in its judgment dated 17.07.2014 to the DoPT to carry out further modifications in Para 15 of the OM dated 29.12.2005  so that the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court to compute 3% of reservation on total number of vacancies in the cadre strength can be implemented, the DoPT has been playing tactics to avoid granting the dues to the stakeholders. 

Yesterday, i.e. on 07th Jan 2015, the DoPT posted on its website at link: Available OM for Persons with Disabilities  the following memorandum carrying out some "further" (second in series) modifications in to its earlier Comprehensive Memorandum on Reservation for Persons with Disabilities : 





Click here for a screen reader accessible copy of the above memorandum.  For all other memorandums by DoPT related to the disability subject click here: Available OM for Persons with Disabilities.

Objective behind the amendment
The objective of this amendment was to harmonise the Comprehensive Memorandum on reservation to persons with disabilities dated 29.12.2005 with the recent clarification of the Hon'ble Supreme Court  in Civil Appeal No. 9096 of 2013 (arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 7541 of 2009) titled Union of India and Anr Vs. National Federation of the Blind and Others which I covered in my blog entry of Dec 10,  2013 titled Physically challenged Vs. Logically Challenged

Does this amendment bring anything new to the stakeholders?
Personally, I failed to find any major difference in the interpretation of said para 14 after two amendments at the direction of the Courts - it is nothing  but merely playing with the words. In nutshell, after a long battle in the court of law, the DoPT just added, "Separate rosters for Group 'A' posts and Group 'B' posts in the establishment shall be maintained."

Was this the intention of the legislature? Did the clarification of Hon'ble Supreme Court really meant this? Is DoPT really intending to giving the disabled their dues as per the spirit of the law and the clarification of the Hon'ble Supreme Court? These are the questions that the Babus of DoPT and Hon'ble PM Modi has to answer. People with Disabilities aren't happy with this attitude nor the way the disability subject is being handled by the departments particularly DoPT. 
  

Friday, October 10, 2014

SC clarifies 3% reservation in appointment for disabled extends to promotions & deputations as well

Dear Colleagues,
The observations of a 3 member bench comprising Hon'ble Chief Justice R.M Lodha,  Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph and Mr. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman on 12 September 2014 while hearing a fresh appeal titled Union of India and Others Versus National Confederation for Development of Disabled and Anr speak volumes about the attitude of the bureaucracy towards implementing reservation in jobs for persons with disabilities. The matter was widely reported in media. Appended towards the end of the posts are the two major coverage by PTI and Indian Express on the subject for your ready information.

I have been receiving several requests from several Government officials including State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities, Stakeholders and friends in the NGOs to write a brief on the judgement, hence this post. 

For some strange reasons, the bench though dismissed this appeal arising out of a Bombay High Court judgement dated 04 Dec 2013 in PIL No. 106/2010, but did not record their reasons for dismissing the appeal perhaps to save the Union Government from further embarrassment. What appeared in the media was thus obiter dicta. i.e. what the Hon'ble Chief Justice commented during the hearing in the court. This did not come in the formal written order. For benefit of readers, you may see the Order dated 12.09.14 by clicking here (Word Format /  PDF Format)

In the instant case at Bombay High Court, the  petitioners National Confederation for Development of Disabled had prayed for writ of mandamus to direct the respondents to appoint the disabled persons in terms of Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PWD Act) in Indian Administrative Services posts to be filled up either by promotion from the State Civil Services or by selection from persons who hold gazetted posts in connection with the affairs of a state but are not members of the State Civil Services, as per their entitlement retrospectively from 1996 and to comply with the said provisions hereafter.

In this regard please refer to my earlier blog entry titled Physically challenged versus Logically Challenged dated  10 Dec 2013 wherein I had also posted the Judgement for ready reference. The same can be accessed by clicking link below:

Judgement of Mumbai High Court in PIL 106/2010 titled National Confederation for Development of Disabled and Anr Versus Union of India and Ors. (PDF file that will open in a new window). Also available on High Court website.

Thus in nutshell, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has upheld the above Judgement of the Bombay High Court meaning thereby that the reservation provisions of Section 33 will extend to all appointments in all groups i.e. A,B,C and D and appointment is not restricted to direct recruitment only. It would also include promotion, deputation etc. 

I had in my research work carried out in 2008-09 for HRLN  which later became a part of a book titled "Harmonizing Indian Domestic Laws with UNCRPD"  I had indicated that the reservation for persons with disabilities is to extend to all form of appointments however, the babus of the DoPT and MSJE continue to force upon the limited interpretation of the provisions. I am glad that the Hon'ble court subsequently upheld it in this above matter. I hope this broad interpretation - the will of the legislature while enacting the disabilities Act 1995  - will be preserved in the new draft Disabilities Act as well.

regards
Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Advocate


News Coverage

SC clears 3% reservation for disabled in jobs, promotions  (Indian Express)

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Posted: September 12, 2014 5:44 pm | Updated: September 12, 2014 9:59 pm

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favour of three per cent reservation for differently-abled candidates in civil services, not only at the stage of their  appointments but also for departmental promotions.

Giving a level-playing field to more than four crore people with disabilities in India, the apex court held that the Centre, states and Union Territories were obligated to implement the rules of reservation for this class in the matters of appointment, selection, direct recruitment, deputation and also for promotions. It asked the Centre to show a big heart and give the differently-abled people their due in all central and state government jobs.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha reiterated its earlier verdict that the principle of not exceeding 50 per cent reservation would not be applicable while granting quota for differently-abled people.

The bench expressed its displeasure at the government seeking to adopt a hyper-technical approach, as its counsel pressed that three per cent reservation could be given only at the stage of appointment but not for promotion. The Persons With Disabilities Act provides for three per cent quota for the differently-abled people.

“Appointment will include promotion. You are frustrating the very reservation policy for the disabled — the class for which this beneficial piece of legislation was enacted, by arguing against it,” the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman, told Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand.
Anand sought to point out that the reservation at the stage of promotion may lead to huge resentment, especially among employees in Group A and Group B categories, since many beneficiaries may get ahead of their seniors.

She was placing an appeal against the Bombay High Court order, directing the government to implement three per cent reservation for the differently-abled in civil services recruitment, besides granting the benefit in the matter of promotion too. This order was issued on a PIL filed by the National Confederation for Development of Disabled, which was represented by senior advocate R S Suri and Arpit Bhargava in the apex court.

The bench, however, told the Additional Solicitor General that the objective of the reservation policy, as envisaged by Parliament, was unequivocal that the differently-abled people must get the benefits without technical impediments.

“Once Parliament prescribes for reservation in appointments, it will cover direct recruitment, promotion and even deputation. Our experience tells us that it is one legislation that has never been effectively implemented. In any case, it is a beneficial legislation and you should interpret in a manner so that they get the benefits,” said the bench.

At this, the Additional Solicitor General agreed with the bench and conceded not to press the appeal any further. The court then dismissed the appeal. The three per cent reservation, as clarified by the apex court in its last year’s judgment, is to the extent of one per cent each for the blind, hearing and speech impaired, and persons suffering from locomotor disability or cerebral palsy. The Supreme Court had in October last ruled in favour of a minimum three per cent reservation for them in all central and state government jobs. Regretting the denial of opportunities to the differently-abled people in the country, the court had quashed the Centre’s 2005 office memorandum and the government’s claim that the reservation policy not only had to be different for Group A, B C and D posts but the quota had to confine to “identified” posts. 

Source: Indian Express

3% quota must for disabled people in all govt jobs including IAS: Supreme Court
PTI | Sep 12, 2014, 06.17PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday held that three per cent reservation for disabled people be given in all categories of government jobs including in appointments and promotions to IAS, while pulling up the Centre for "blocking" the very purpose of this empowering legislation by opposing it.

A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said that people with disabilities have not got their due in the last 19 years despite the framing of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, which was passed in 1995.

Additional solicitor general Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, contended that reservation cannot be given in case of promotion to Group A and Group B officers category as it is not a case of appointment. The bench, however, observed that appointment is a broader concept and the Centre is giving a narrow interpretation of it.

"You are frustrating the very reservation policy and cause of class for which Parliament passed the law," the bench said.

"For the last 19 years it is not being implemented and the class, for which the legislation was made, had not got benefited as it should have," the bench said.

The court dismissed the petition of the Centre challenging an order of Bombay high court which had directed the Centre and the Union Public Service Commission to implement 3 per cent quota in direct recruitment and promotions for the disabled in the IAS.

Source: Times of India 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Failure to implement Disabilities Act makes Madras High Court initiates Contempt Proceedings against Chief Secretary

Hi,

Here is a news coming from Madras High Court. Though the notices of the contempt have been delayed at the request of Advocate General but it indicates the seriousness with which the Court is looking at the continued defiance.

Times of India and The Hindu have covered the stories as below. More soon....

Times of India


A Subramani,TNN | Feb 11, 2014, 01.06 PM IST

CHENNAI: Lambasting top bureaucrats of Tamil Nadu for their failure to furnish data relating to backlog of vacancies for disabled persons in various government departments, the Madras high court has initiated contempt of court proceedings against chief secretary Sheela Balakrishnan and two other officers.

According to the statute, there shall be reservation of 3% of all available vacancies for disabled persons. While the court had passed necessary orders nearly two years ago, the issue gained importance after last month's Supreme Court ruling directing all state governments to set apart 3% of all available vacancies for disabled persons.

Justice S Manikumar, pointing out that at least 23 government departments have not furnished required details of backlog vacancies despite several adjournments and directives, said: "Though repeatedly, this court has issued orders to identify the posts in 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' categories and consequently, to fill up the posts as expeditiously as possible, the process is on and on and from the materials produced before this court, out of 34 secretarial heads, 140 Heads of Departments, 102 government undertakings, including universities and 54 companies owned and controlled by the government, only 70 HoDs have furnished the details of 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' categories."

"So far, 50 out of 102 government undertakings and boards, etc., have furnished the details. No clear details have been furnished by about the 54 companies owned and controlled by the government," Justice Manikumar said.

He then said: "This court is constrained to issue contempt notices to Sheela Balakrishnan, chief secretary of Tamil Nadu and head of Monitoring Committee for Differently Abled, P Sivasankaran, secretary of Welfare of Differently Abled department and Manivasan, commissioner for the differently abled, to explain as to why further course of action should not be taken under the Contempt of Courts Act. Registry is directed to issue necessary statutory notices to the above said persons."

However, after advocate-general A L Somayaji requested the court to postpone the issuance of the statutory notice, which would require the personal appearance of the officers concerned, the judge said the officers could make necessary applications if they complied with directions of the high court and the Supreme Court.


The Hindu




CHENNAI, February 12, 2014

K.T. SANGAMESWARAN

Observing that the differently-abled have been taken for a ride by the State government, the Madras High Court has ordered issue of contempt notices to three top officials, including the Chief Secretary, for violating the orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court in the matter of filling up vacancies in ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ categories by differently-abled persons.

Besides the Chief Secretary, Sheela Balakrishnan, notices were ordered to be issued against the Secretary, Welfare of Differently-Abled Persons Department, P.Sivasankaran and the State Commissioner for the Differently-Abled, Manivasan.

Following the Advocate-General, A.L.Somayaji’s request to postpone the issue of the notice, Justice S.Manikumar ordered that if the officials concerned comply with the Court directions in letter and spirit, they could file necessary applications.

Passing an interim order on three writ petitions filed in 2004, the Judge said the Court had, in April 2012, directed the authorities to identify ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts in government departments, boards, public sector undertakings, corporations, companies owned by the government and educational institutions. Subsequently, the government had issued a G.O. on January 29 last year directing the establishments to identify the posts and to implement the three per cent reservation for the differently-abled.

Mr. Justice Manikumar said no details had been furnished, as to whether the Secretaries had implemented the instructions given.

Though repeatedly the Court issued orders to identify the posts under the four categories and fill up the posts as expeditiously as possible, the process was getting delayed.

Only 50 out of the 102 government undertakings, boards, etc., had furnished the details. No clear details had been furnished about 54 government-owned companies. He said the authorities were seeking adjournments time and again.

During the last hearing, the State Commissioner for the Differently-Abled filed an affidavit taking a different stand altogether and submitted that the whole process should be reworked considering the Tamil Nadu Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules.