Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kerala HC: Tax Exemption on Vehicle for disabled is financial privilege different from a Right [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,
A double bench of the Kerala High Court has ruled that a cap on tax exemption on purchase value of vehicles by persons with disabilities can not be termed as discriminatory. The division bench comprising of Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu opined  that the exemption made by the Government in the instant case, was in the nature of concession to persons with disabilities. And this exemption being a part of financial incentive, the Government was well within its powers to impose suitable conditions.

Brief Brackground  of the case

The Government, had by a notification, G.O. (MS) No. 16/98/Tran., dated 31.03.1998, granted a tax exemption for certain motor vehicles, including the luxury cars, being purchased by differently abled persons. However by a subsequent amendment, the Government had imposed a limit to the cap of Rs.5,00,000/- ,on the value of such vehicles entitled to such tax exemption.

Appellant, a person with 100% disability and a wheel chair user purchased a car of a value exceeding Rs. 5,00,000/. He argued that his son was also disabled being mentally retarded, a bigger car of a value more than 5,00,000/- cap was required to manage the daily activities of the family. He contended that limiting the cap on value of vehicles entitled to tax exemption for use by disabled, violated Article 14 of the Constitution of India. 

His writ petition in this regard, before the single bench was dismissed. Aggrieved by the same, he approached the division bench in an appeal.  Dismissing the writ appeal, the division bench observed:- “Be it a classification of discrimination in terms of Article 14 of the Constitution, it applies vis-a-vis the right that has been constitutionally consecrated. In that context, legion are the precedents that the classification or discrimination shall pass the judicial muster as regards the reasonableness or non-arbitrariness.” 

Judgement

The bench opined, “In the present instance, it is only a concession the Government has conferred on physically challenged persons. It being a financial incentive, the Government is well within its powers to impose suitable conditions. In other words, a privilege being entirely different from a right, a Fundamental Right at that, we are of the opinion that the contention of the learned counsel as regards discrimination or unreasonableness does not apply.” 



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Deaf witness is a competent & credible witness- High Court [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

A single bench of Hon'be Delhi High Court presided by Justice Mukta Gupta while disposing off an appeal has held that when a deaf witness is under cross-examination the Court is required to take due care of the fact that vocabulary of such a person is limited as he or she speaks through sign language and it may not be possible for that witness to answer, or in detail explain every answer by sign language. This disability of a limited vocabulary of sign language does not  affect either the competence or the credibility of such witness.

In the instant appeal filed by the Accused who was convicted for the offence defined under Section 9(k), punishable under Section 10 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2002, for sexually assaulting a 12 yr old deaf and dumb girl, twin arguments were raised by the counsel for appellant i.e.  firstly since the prosecutrix could not be cross-examined her testimony cannot be read in evidence  and secondly even if the offence is proved against the appellant, the same would fall under Section 7 punishable under Section 8 of POCSO Act and not under Section 9(k) punishable under Section 10 of the POCSO Act.

Section 119 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 provides: “119. Dumb witnesses.- A witness who is unable to speak may give his evidence in any other manner in which he can make it intelligible, as by writing or by signs, but such writing must be written and the signs made in open Court. Evidence so given shall be deemed to be oral evidence.”

While dealing with the mode of recording, non-administration of oath to a deaf and dumb witness and involving an interpreter for understanding the evidence of such a witness, the Supreme Court in the decision reported as (2012) 5 SCC 789 State of Rajasthan Vs. Darshan Singh @ Darshan Lal held: “26. The object of enacting the provisions of Section 119 of the Evidence Act reveals that deaf and dumb persons were earlier contemplated in law as idiots. However, such a view has subsequently been changed for the reason that modern science revealed that persons affected with such calamities are generally found more intelligent, and to be susceptible to far higher culture than one was once supposed. When a deaf and dumb person is examined in the court, the court has to exercise due caution and take care to ascertain before he is examined that he possesses the requisite amount of intelligence and that he understands the nature of an oath. On being satisfied on this, the witness may be administered oath by appropriate means and that also with the assistance of an interpreter. However, in case a person can read and write, it is most desirable to adopt that method being more satisfactory than any sign language. The law requires that there must be a record of signs and not the interpretation of signs.

On Questioning the Testimony as no cross examination held

In reply to the first argument of questioning the testimony, Justice Mukta Gupta held as follows;

“The purpose of cross-examination is to ascertain the truth in relation to the acquisition levelled against an accused person and a discretion is vested in the Court to control the cross-examination. A party cross-examining a deaf and dumb witness like any other witness is required to act within the bounds of law and cannot be permitted to cross-examine the witness all and sundry on irrelevant questions. Section 138 of the Indian Evidence Act itself provides that the examination and cross-examination of a witness must relate to relevant facts but the cross-examination need not be confined to the facts to which the witness testified in his examination-in-chief. The purpose is that in cross-examination besides relevant facts, facts which impeach the credibility of the witness and shake his creditworthiness can also be asked. However still the first portion of Section 138 of the Evidence Act qualifies this right confining the cross-examination to relevant facts though it may not have been so deposed in the examination-in-chief. It is the duty of a Judge to control the cross-examination to prevent any abuse and to protect a witness from being unfairly dealt with. Sections 149 to 152 of the Evidence Act prohibit asking questions without reasonable grounds, which are indecent and scandalous in nature, or which are intended to insult or annoy the witness”.

“When a deaf and dumb witness is under cross-examination, the Court is required to take due care of the fact that vocabulary of such a person is limited as he or she speaks through sign language and it may not be possible for that witness to answer, or in detail explain every answer by sign language. This disability of a limited vocabulary of sign language does not affect either the competence or the credibility of such witness. The Court is required to exercise control over the cross-examination keeping in view the ability of the witness to answer the questions.

From the examination of the witness which was in question-answer form and the response to the cross-examination wherein the witness drew and explained the distance where the incident took place, it can safely be held that there was sufficient compliance of the right to cross-examination provided to an accused and the testimony of this witness is not required to be effaced”

On punishment under section 8 Sexual Assault or Section 9 Aggravated Sexual Assault 

The Court then examined the question whether appellant can be convicted for offence defined under Section 7 and punishable under Section 8 of the POCSO Act or defined under Section 9(k) and punishable under Section 10 of POCSO Act. The appellant was charged for offence defined under Section 7 and punishable under Section 8 of POCSO Act i.e. “sexual assault”.

Section 7 POCSO Act defines the term sexual assault as physical contact without penetration. The punishment for the same is provided in Section 8 wherein the minimum sentence is 3 years which may extend to 5 years with fine.

Section 9 of POCSO Act defines “aggravated sexual assault” which is punishable under Section 10 POCSO Act. Section 9 POCSO Act defines different types of sexual assault which would be termed as aggravated sexual assault. Sub-clause (k) of Section 9 POCSO Act provides that whoever, taking advantage of a child’s mental or physical disability, commits sexual assault on the child would be punished for aggravated sexual assault as per Section 10 of POCSO Act wherein the minimum punishment is of 5 years imprisonment which may extend to 7 years and fine.”

Though charged with a major offence an accused can be convicted for a minor offence, the vice-versa is impermissible.

Court altered the Punishment

Accepting the contention of the Accused, the bench held that in the facts of the case Court is not required to go into whether aggravated sexual assault is made out or not from the evidence on record, for the reason there was no charge for aggravated sexual assault framed against the appellant. “ It is trite law that though charged with a major offence an accused can be convicted for a minor offence, however the vice-versa is impermissible which has been done by the learned Trial Court.”

Consequently, the Court altered the conviction of Accused to one for offence defined under Section 7 and punishable under Section 8 of POCSO Act.

The earlier sentence dt. 17 Dec 2013  of "Rigorous imprisonment for a period of six years and fine of Rs. 5,000/- in default whereof to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of three months" has not been modified as "Rigorous imprisonment for a period of 5 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000/- in default whereof to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of one month".

Click here for the Judgement dated 03 Jun 2016, bearing No. CRL.A. 751/2014 titled Chander Singh Vs. State

Language used by Judiciary referring to persons with disability

An important takeaway from this judgement is also the issue of improper and disability unfriendly language used by the Hon'ble Judges despite their best intentions. The terminology "deaf and dumb", "suffering from disability" etc has been repeatedly used by the prosecution, courts below and the high court in the pleadings, orders and judgement. And this is not one odd case. Its high time that the judicial officers  and prosecution officers too are trained in the use of correct language / terminology while referring to persons with disabilities. While the words, "suffering from" and "handicapped" are one extreme, the term "Divyang" suggested by Hon'ble Prime Minister of India is on the other extreme of the disability etiquette. People with disabilities are persons first and therefore a simple reference to them as "a person with disability" or "a person with hearing impairment", speech impairment, etc... in line with the UNCRPD accepted worldwide is appropriate and proper. The Hon'ble High Court must consider addressing this as a priority.  





SC slaps Rs.10 lakhs fine on SpiceJet for discriminating with a flier with disability [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

This is in continuation to my earlier two posts titled Jeeja Ghosh, a prominent Indian disability right activist discriminated by Spicejet Pilot dated 19 Feb 2012 and Supreme Court of India issues notice to SpiceJet for deplaning disabled woman dated 05 April 2012.

In a remarkable judgement in a clear case of disability discrimination, a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and R K Agrawal of Hon'ble Supreme Court has directed the budget airline Spicejet to pay a sum of Rs 10 Lakh (One Million Indian Rupees) as damages to a flyer living with cerebral palsy, who was forcibly offloaded in 2012, saying the manner in which she was de-boarded depicts "total lack of sensitivity".

The apex court noted that the flier with disability Ms. Jeeja Ghosh was not given "appropriate, fair and caring treatment" which she required with "due sensitivity" and the decision to de-board her was "uncalled for".

"On our finding that SpiceJet acted in a callous manner, and in the process violated Rules, 1937 and Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), 2008 guidelines resulting in mental and physical suffering experienced by Ghosh and also unreasonable discrimination against her, we award a sum of Rs 10,00,000 as damages to be payable to her," observed the Bench.

Ms. Ghosh was offloaded from a SpiceJet flight on February 19, 2012 from Kolkata when she was going to attend a conference in Goa hosted by NGO ADAPT (Able Disable All People Together), the second petitioner in the case.

The bench said the decision to offload Ghosh was taken by the airlines without any medical advise or consideration and her condition was not such which required any assistive devices or aids.

"Even if we assume that there was some blood or froth that was noticed to be oozing out from the sides of her mouth when she was seated in the aircraft (though vehemently denied by petitioner), nobody even cared to interact with her and asked her the reason for the same. No doctor was summoned to examine her condition. Abruptly and without any justification, a decision was taken to de-board her without ascertaining as to whether her condition was such which prevented her from flying. This clearly amounts to violation of Rule 133-A of Rules, 1937 and the CAR, 2008 guidelines," the bench said.

Download the Judgement

  • WP(C) No. 98/2012 Titled Jeeja Ghosh and Anr Versus Union of India and Others 
  • Or Read the embedded Judgement in PDF below:




Thursday, June 2, 2016

HC Order fail to bring relief to disabled MBBS aspirant this year despite clearing NEET [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

In the instant case, the Hon'ble Delhi High Court, in a matter of discrimination on the grounds of disability, the petitioner not only failed to get any practical relief while she missed her crucial year of MBBS even after clearing NEET Examination but also the stipulation that only persons up to 70% disability can be considered for MBBS course remained unchallenged. 

Thus in fact, this case can not be used by any other candidate with a disability  to seek admission in MBBS if he has more than 70% disability. The petitioner has to clear the NEET exam all over again next year thereby wasting her crucial year of life which can never be replenished to her. Is it true justice? Were respondent burdened with any cost for this lapse? How can the petitioner with 80% disability be considered next year again under the same rules that debar a candidate above 70%? What is the guarantee that her percentage of disability will not be used by the respondent to once again to deny her the seat even if she has the perseverance to clear the NEET the next year?

Brief of the case. 

The petitioner, Ms. Sanjana Sinha, when she was seventeen, had undergone amputation of her left leg, and got an artificial leg/prosthetic limb fitted, her disability adjudged as 80%. After qualifying NEET examination, she applied to Faculty of Medical Sciences for admission to MBBS course against the seats reserved for persons with disabilities. 

Although initially she found her name in the merit list and rank list, later she was declared not eligible for admission to MBBS due to her disability, which is 80%. The petitioner challenged this through the Writ petition, by contending that with the external aid/prosthetic limb her disability is less than 70%, within the prescribed range. The petitioner did not challenge the rule limiting the eligibility to 70%!

Division Bench comprising of Justices V. Kameswar Rao and Badar Durrez Ahmed observed “A welfare legislation…… needs to be given a purposive interpretation, inasmuch as to give benefit to a person with disability so that he/she don’t feel less privileged than a normal person. Moreover, we find that the petitioner has a brilliant academic carrier and has also qualified the NEET examination but for the disability, she would have got the admission in the course.” 

The Court also observed that having disability of 80% is a more appropriate case to be given benefit of the Act, since with the external aid/prosthetic limb, the disability would come within the range as permissible under the Regulation i.e. between 40/50-70. 

The Court allowed the Writ petition in following terms: “We may only state here that the petitioner was a successful candidate for the academic year starting 2013-2014. At this point of time, no direction can be issued to give admission to the petitioner on the basis of the said examination. The only direction that can be given is, in view of our discussion, the respondent shall not deny admission to the petitioner if she is successful in a future NEET examination on the ground that she has a disability of 80%.”

Download a copy of Judgement:



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kerala HC quashes HPCL's stipulation denying distributorship on groud of blindness [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

In a writ petition W.P.(C).No.29046/2013 titled Baby P. Versus M/s Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, the Honorable Kerala High Court vide its judgement dated 30 May 2016 has quashed the stipulation that ‘totally blind person is ineligible’ for LPG distributorship as violative of Article 14 of Constitution of India.

The petitioner, P. Baby of Thiruvananthapuram, a totally blind person, applied for LPG Distributorship at Kodiyathoor in Kollam under S.C.(C.C) category. But his application was rejected by the respondent on two grounds, one of them being that a ‘totally blind person’ was ineligible to apply for LPG distributorship & the other being lack of own space for operating the agency. The petitioner had submitted that he was willing to take on rent adequate space to run the agency.

Quashing a part of the norms formulated by the petroleum company that allowed denying distributorship to persons who are completely blind, the court held that it amounts to violation of the constitutional right to equality before law and denies equal opportunity to blind persons.

In the judgment, the court said if a disability doesn't prevent a person from performing a job, such a disability cannot be the reason for denying the job. Denying a job citing disability can only be allowed if the disability prevents the person from performing the functions associated with the job. Denial of jobs citing disability becomes necessary only in special circumstances such as driving, the court said. 

The petroleum company had contended that if a blind person such as the petitioner is granted LPG distributorship, he won't be able to inspect complaints related to cylinders and that inspection of cylinders to rectify complaints is a job that requires maintenance of the highest safety standards. However, the court said those who formed the norms ousting blind persons completely from grant of distributorships are unaware of the fact that they are able to perform such tasks that require a high degree of specificity. 

Delivering the judgment, Justice Muhammed Mustaque, opined that the above stipulation of classification  was unreasonable, since it  had no nexus with the purpose sought to be achieved. The bench opined:- “The classification in the case in hand appears to have been made based on the broad generalization that the Distributorship can be run only by persons of certain abilities. Such a classification ex facie appears to be unreasonable and unsustainable. Though, the object of such prescription appears to be that in order to carry out day-to-day affairs, constant vision of the Distributors is required. The vision of eye sight, in fact, has nothing to do with the functions being discharged by the Distributors. A blind person is also endowed with a vision. Though, he cannot physically see an activity, with his insight vision he can run a Distributorship. Therefore, the object of classification must have a nexus with the purpose and intent to be achieved.

The modern technological advantages and improvement of social conditions of the blind cannot be ignored while considering the functional duties attached with Distributorship.” The court further elaborated its stand, by employing the Doctrine of strict scrutiny developed by American courts, wherein the general presumption available for a statute,  on its validity cannot be invoked for an executive action, but the onus is cast on the proponent of the classification to establish its constitutionality.

The Court thereupon proceeded, to determine the constitutionality of the stipulation and whether the same   causes reverse discrimination. Answering the query in affirmative the court ruled:-“The blind persons cannot be treated as a separate class except for affirmative action or for the purpose of functional duty attached with an office or post. They are equally competent and have all competitive and cognitive skills similar to the able bodied persons except lacking visionary functions. Therefore, they can be treated as a separate class for the purpose of affirmative actions or for any other purpose relating to the functional competence of the duties attached to the post/office.

As has been noted above, the doctrine of scrutiny casts a duty on the policy makers to justify discrimination and not otherwise. In this case, absolutely no materials have been placed before this Court to justify classification.” Terming the stipulation as violative of Article 14, the court observed:- “The equal opportunities for a blind person cannot be negated unless the functions that have to be discharged by him intrinsically, cannot be separated from his disability, such as persons like drivers or such other functionaries who may require vision for carrying out the function. A blind person would be also able to discharge the same functions as that of an able bodied person without any impediment as far as LPG Distributorship is concerned. Therefore, this Court is of the view that the stipulation in the Brochure that a “totally blind person is ineligible” is violative of Art.14 of the Constitution. Accordingly, the clause as above is set aside.”

Media stories  

Times of India - Disability not a bar for jobs they can perform: HC

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Franklin Institute's policy of charging attendant of disabled patron held discriminatory


Federal Judge orders Franklin Museum to change admission policy of charging the attendant of disabled patron since it would be deemed discriminatory to disabled under the provisions of ADA.

A federal judge has ordered the Franklin Institute to stop discriminating against disabled patrons by making personal-care attendants pay entrance fees.

The court order follows a 2013 lawsuit alleging that the nonprofit museum's policies prevented some disabled people from enjoying all the institute has to offer by charging their caretakers for the price of admission.

Lead plaintiff Michael Anderson has cerebral palsy and uses an electric wheelchair with the help of a full-time personal attendant. His attendant was charged at the door and for special offerings at the institute.

For instance, when Anderson tried to attend an Imax screening, he was told that his attendant must buy a ticket, a position that attorneys for the institute defended in federal court for more than two years. They have argued that waiving the fee could, eventually, cause the nonprofit to run a deficit and even trigger layoffs.

"The illogic of the institute's position is as striking as its hyperbole," wrote U.S. District Judge Gerald McHugh Jr.

McHugh wrote that he's "frankly puzzled" that the Franklin Institute would resist following the law — the Americans with Disabilities Act — because it could dampen ticket sales. 

"To credit such a theory would not only render the ADA meaningless, but endorse a result inimical to its purposes," he wrote.

According to institute attorneys, personal-care attendants are no longer charged the $19.95 cost of general admission. However in filings, they contend the institute cannot extend the policy to Imax screenings and other special exhibits that have limited seating.

Now, the institute is under a court order to change that. 

The institute provides personal-care attendants with a folding chair to sit in an upper section dedicated to wheelchair seating for Imax screenings. Arguing that waiving the folding chair cost is hurting the museum's revenue is "nonsensical," the judge wrote, since those seats are not available to the general public.

The institute does not keep records on how many people with disabilities are accompanied by personal-care attendants, making the financial impact of waiving the folding chair fee difficult to quantify. Furthermore, the majority of Imax and special exhibits never even reach 50 percent capacity, McHugh wrote.

"No reasonable fact-finder could conclude that an occasional $1 loss to a $135 million organization constitutes an unreasonable cost or an undue financial burden," the judge wrote.

In a statement, the Franklin Institute said it has a long history of serving the disabled community through education and outreach programs. 

"We strongly disagree with the decision," said spokeswoman Stefanie Santo, saying the institute will now "explore all of our options." 

The Miami-based attorneys representing the institute never returned calls seeking comment.

Attorney Stephen Gold, who represented the plaintiffs in the case, said without caretakers, many severely disabled people in the Philadelphia area cannot partake in the region's cultural offerings.

"We hope that museums and other institutions throughout the country will modify their policies to conform to the ADA," he wrote in a statement.

Source: Newsworks

Monday, May 2, 2016

Private Insurance Contracts can't override fundamental rights of equality & health through exclusion clauses

Dear Colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier blog entry titled "Extra Premium or reduced insurance amount, both discriminatory against employees with disabilities- Delhi HC" wherein the Hon'ble Delhi High Court had categorically come to a conclusion that charging extra premium from employees with disabilities was indeed a discrimination on the basis of disability and the court in its remarkable judgement directed the postal life insurance to provide equal insurance coverage and not charge extra premium from the employees with disabilities.

I had called that judgement  a milestone in the disability rights movement with far reaching implications not only in India but also beyond India and especially in European countries where the actuaries continue to discriminate against persons with disabilities by under-valuing their lives. 

In the instant case, the plaintiff  Jai Prakash Tayal, holding a mediclaim policy had filed a suit seeking payment of Rs. 5 lakh spent on his treatment while the Insurance firm had denied mediclaim saying “genetic disease is not payable as per policy genetic exclusion clauses".

The trial court presided by Hon'ble Additional District Judge, Delhi Dr. (Ms.) Kamini Lau lambasted the United India Insurance Company, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of Govt. of India, for rejecting the mediclaim of a person for heart ailment on the ground of genetic disease exclusion clause. 
News Clipping from Times of India Delhi Edition 02 May 2016

Adding that the clause was "arbitrary , discriminatory and unfair" the Judge said, “I hold that a genetic disease exclusion clause in a mediclaim insurance policy, which totally excludes the grant of insurance in case of genetic diseases, is liable to be struck down being violative of the constitutional mandate, the fundamental underlying constitutional scheme, policy of the state and public good.

The plaintiff had told the court that he had already taken two claims for the same treatment and, therefore, a third claim for the same disease was not liable to be rejected. The court ruled in favour of the plaintiff and said he was entitled to the amount. It observed that a person suffering from a genetic disease is as much in need of a medical insurance cover as others and in fact the liability qua them is more.

“No person can be discriminated or deprived of state protection in case of an ailment, be it genetic or acquired. The courts of law are required to interpret the provisions of the private contracts in the light of these constitutional obligations,“ the court said.

The court held that good health is not a privilege but a justiciable fundamental right and lamented that healthcare finances have a poor record as only 4% of the national budget is spent on it. “The time has come that India catches up with this alternative model of allocating resources and funding to its public health programmes,“ the judge said. 

Related News from Times of India :  Court pulls up insurer, cites right to health







Thursday, February 11, 2016

Frame Policy for Compensation to Disabled Rape Survivor - SC [Judgement Included]

Dear Colleagues,

A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices MY Eqbal and Arun Mishra, while hearing a Criminal Appeal 884/2015 filed by the accused challenging his conviction and sentence of 7 Yrs rigorous imprisonment (RI) u/s 376 IPC,  has directed all the State Governments to formulate Uniform Schemes for the Victims of Sexual Assaults. 

The rape survivor  in the case is a blind and illiterate girl, who was subjected to sexual intercourse on the promise of marriage by the accused. After upholding the Conviction and Sentence on the Accused, the Court examined the question as to ‘whether in the facts and circumstances of the case the prosecutrix is entitled to victim compensation and, if so, to what extent?’ 

In addition to the the Victim Compensation Scheme of Chhattisgarh state, the the hon'ble Court also examined the Schemes notified by other State as well. After examining the schemes, the Court held, "Perusal of the aforesaid victim compensation schemes of different States and the Union Territories, it is clear that no uniform practice is being followed in providing compensation to the rape victim for the offence and for her rehabilitation. This practice of giving different amount ranging from Rs.20,000/- to Rs.10,00,000/- as compensation for the offence of rape under section 357A needs to be introspected by all the States and the Union Territories. They should consider and formulate a uniform scheme specially for the rape victims in the light of the scheme framed in the State of Goa which has decided to give compensation up to Rs.10,00,000/-"

The Court observed, “While going through different schemes for relief and rehabilitation of victims of rape, we have also come across one Scheme made by the National Commission of Women (NCW) on the direction of this court in Delhi Domestic Working Women’s Forum vs. Union of India and Ors. [Writ Petition (Crl) No. 362/93], whereby this Court inter alia had directed the National Commission for Women to evolve a “scheme” so as to wipe out the tears of unfortunate victims of rape. This scheme has been revised by the NCW on 15th April 2010. The application under this scheme will be in addition to any application that may be made under Section 357, 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure as provided in paragraph 22 of the Scheme. Under this scheme maximum of Rs.3,00,000/- (Three lakhs) can be given to the victim of the rape for relief and rehabilitation in special cases like the present case where the offence is against an handicapped woman who required specialized treatment and care” 

The Court passed the following directions :-

1) All the States and Union Territories shall make all endeavour to formulate a uniform scheme for providing victim compensation in respect of rape/sexual exploitation with the physically handicapped women as required under the law taking into consideration the scheme framed by the State of Goa for rape victim compensation; 

2) So far as this case is concerned, the respondent-State shall pay a sum of Rs.8,000/- per month as victim compensation to the victim who is physically handicapped, i.e. blind, till her life time.

To read the judgement click here: 

Related News coverage




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Madras HC issues directions to Commissioner on disabled friendly Govt buildings


Disabled-friendly govt buildings: HC directs Commissioner

Business Standard | January 19, 2016

The Madras High Court today directed the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities to hold a meeting within 10 days and present a final picture before the court by March 11 on making government buildings disabled- friendly. 

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, gave the direction on two PILs seeking to direct authorities, particularly the Chairman and Managing Director of Metropolitan Transport Corporation and the Commissioner of Chennai Corporation to implement "the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995". 

The petitioners Rajiv Rajan and M Gnana Sambndam also sought a direction to provide barrier-free environment in public places giving access to the usage of transport system. 

They also wanted the authorities to frame and notify comprehensive rules for according recognition to various types of schemes for disabled.  Already, the court had appointed T Mohan, an advocate, as amicus curiae and directed him to file a report on the matter. 

When the matter came up today, the union government placed on record a note containing the additional facilities included in a Handbook on Barrier-Free and Accessibility, 2014, which mentions the requirements for making public places disabled-friendly. 

The bench, going through the note in its order, said "let a meeting be held by the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in consultation with the state Public Works Department and the amicus curiae within ten days so that we have a clear plan of action as to how will it be verified as to what extent the different buildings can be made disabled-friendly." 

The bench further said that such meetings should continue with frequency and to ensure that the final picture is placed before it by March 11. The court also directed the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities to remain present in the Court on March 11, 2016.



Friday, January 8, 2016

Kerala High Court insists the 3% reservation computation from 1996 [Judgement Included]

Dear Friends,

A good clarification comes from the Kerala High Court. A double bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman while hearing on 06 Jan 2016, wednesday, has dismissed a Writ Appeal No. 362 of 2015 titled Kerala Public Service Commission Vs. E. Dineshan, filed by the Kerala Public Service Commission seeking to quash the Single Judge order in WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011.

The Single Judge Justice A.V.Ramakrishna Pillai had  ordered that the reservation has to be computed from the date of enactment of legislation i.e. 1996 and not from the date of a Govt. order. The single judge had quashed the govt. notification to the extent it restricted the benefit of 3% reservation of handicapped persons mandated under Section 33 of the Act from 1.2.2010 onwards.

To read the Single Judge order in WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011 click here:

 WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011 (PDF file)
 WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011 (Word File)

Here is a related new from Express news

Kerala HC Upholds Order on Jobs for Physically-Challenged
By Express News Service Published: 07th January 2016 06:00 AM

KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday upheld the order of the Single Bench declaring that handicapped persons are entitled to get three percent of vacancies in the post of assistant grade II/clerk/junior clerk/cashier from 1996 while making appointment to public sector undertakings.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman issued the order while dismissing an appeal filed by the Kerala Public Service Commission seeking to quash the Single Judge order. The Single Judge had also directed the Kerala State Electricity Board, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, Kerala State Financial Enterprises and Kerala Headload Workers Welfare Fund Board to report all existing vacancies to enable the PSC to advise candidates from the shortlist. The commission contended that the vacancies which had arisen during the validity of the rank list could only be filled. And the backlog vacancies could be filled only through a special recruitment drive.

The single judge had also quashed the state government order clarifying that the reservation of three per cent for disabled persons could be implemented only from February 1, 2010. The petitioner submitted that three per cent vacancies had to be reserved for the handicapped persons in terms of Sections 32 and 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

The Bench said that the single judge verdict was in accordance with the principles laid down by the Supreme Court judgement in implementing reservation available to physically handicapped persons.