Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Adjustment of compassionate appointment against disability quota

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you have heard of this case being represented by my colleague Jayshree Satpute on behalf of the victim. For the information of those who are new to this case one Ms. Mahjabi, a journalism student from Dehradun, was in Delhi on vacation and was at the Rajiv Chowk Metro station with her mother. On the fateful day of March 26 last year, as a train was entering the overcrowded platform, Mehjabi was pushed on to the tracks as commuters jostled to get ahead. She was about to complete her journalism course and was close to landing a job with a news agency.

The court in the instant case has suggested that the  DMRC should also consider the feasibility of grant of preference to the disabled, who have suffered their disability either in the course of the construction work for Delhi Metro, or while using the services, within the three per cent reservation granted to the disabled persons.

I am in perfect agreement with the suggestion that the DMRC as a model employer should consider preference to such disabled persons who have acquired their disability either in the course of the construction work for Delhi Metro or while using its services as a commuter. However, it should be done under some separate scheme on Compassionate Grounds appointments. 

I am strongly against any move to adjust such seats in the three percent reservation quota available to persons with disabilities under the Persons with Disability Act 1995. Such a move would further shrink the number of jobs available in Delhi Metro to the persons with disabilities. Already, the tendency of the Government bodies/public authorities is to read the minimum 3% reservation as "Maximum 3% reservation" which is doing more harm than good to the job prospects of the potential employees with disabilities. The tendency is to adjust even those who get selected on their own merit without using any relaxed standards though is strictly against the settled norms and the policy!

Therefore, I reiterate that rather than adjusting persons acquiring a disability as a result of metro construction work or while using metro services, it would be worthwhile to consider them under a special scheme of "Compassionate Grounds appointments" and not under the regular reservation quota of minimum 3% reservation. For the mandate of the Disabilities Act is loud and clear that it is minimum 3% and not maximum and any disability which is acquired due to in-actions or actions of DMRC can not be adjusted in the present quota.  Similarly the protected disabled employees under Section 47 of the Disabilities Act can not be adjusted in to the 3% quota when they are retained after acquiring a disability. Though they may become a part of this 3% in future promotions or recruitment.

regards

Subhash Chandra Vashishth, 
Advocate- Disability Rights

Here is the news report from Indian Express:



New Delhi

The Delhi High Court has asked DMRC to consider framing a policy to ensure employment for commuters or employees who lose their limbs while using the facility or during work.

The court observation came during a hearing of a petition filed by 23-year-old journalism student, Mehjabi, who had lost both her legs in an accident at Rajiv Chowk Metro station last year. She has been fighting a case demanding compensation or a job with DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation).

Justice Vipin Sanghi has sought an affidavit from the DMRC after observing that the Metro, as a model employer and a service-provider, should look into the aspects of providing a job to accident victims.

The judge said any accident during construction work, or while using Metro train services, severely diminished the quality of life of an individual and hence, the DMRC should consider framing a preferential policy.

As the first affidavit submitted by the DMRC in response to Mehjabi’s petition did not specifically deal with the aspect of the reservation for the physically challenged, Justice Sanghi asked the Delhi Metro to file an additional affidavit, placing on record the policy for grant of reservation to the disabled.

“The DMRC should also consider the feasibility of grant of preference to the disabled, who have suffered their disability either in the course of the construction work for Delhi Metro, or while using the services, within the three per cent reservation granted to the disabled persons,” said the court.

During the hearing, Mehjabi’s counsel Jayshree Satpute told the court that her artificial limbs also required servicing, and hence, the Metro should be asked to bear the expenditure.

Acceding to the request, Justice Sanghi asked the DMRC, which had borne the expenses for procuring the artificial limbs for Mehjabi, to also meet the costs of the first servicing of the artificial limb.

Mehjabi was pursuing a journalism course in her hometown Dehradun, and was close to landing a job with a news agency when she met with the accident on March 26 last year. She was in Delhi on vacation and was at the Rajiv Chowk Metro station with her mother. As a train was entering the overcrowded platform, Mehjabi was pushed on to the tracks as commuters jostled to get ahead.

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