Monday, August 5, 2013

Delhi HC questions MSJE why disabled can't function as surgeon

Court questions 3% reservation for differently-abled MBBS degree holders

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013, 12:59 IST | Place: Delhi | Agency: DNA

Ayesha Arvind

The Delhi High Court has questioned the 3% reservation for differently-abled persons holding MBBS degree only in non-surgical posts. While hearing a plea pertaining to such an appointment, the Court asked, "Does the Centre feel that differently-abled persons with valid MBBS degrees are unfit to perform their duties as doctors in surgical procedures?" The Court has sought a clarification from the ministry of social justice and empowerment in this regard.

A bench of Justices Pradip Nandrajog and V Kameswar Rao has also directed the chief commissioner for persons with disabilities to appear in the Court on Monday. The Court order follows a plea in which an ENT surgeon has challenged the appointment of an orthopedically-handicapped (OPH) candidate for the same post in AIIMS for which he too had applied.

The surgeon, Dilip Samal, had applied for the post of senior resident/demonstrator at AIIMS in July last year under the OBC category. He challenged the appointment of an OPH candidate after his RTI query revealed that the selected candidate had scored less than the qualifying marks in written test. Samal was later informed by the AIIMS authorities that as per procedure those who qualify under the OPH category are adjusted in the respective category, irrespective of the marks and merits in the entrance exam.

Samal then approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for relief. In January this year, the CAT had set aside the selection of the OPH candidate Mohammad Mubashshirul Haq. It had ruled that the AIIMS had not notified any relaxed standards of suitability for the OPH candidates while inviting applications or any time thereafter. AIIMS, in turn, challenged CAT’s ruling before the High Court.

The Court took note of the fact that Section 32 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and the DoPT guidelines mandate that authorities first identify posts to be reserved in medical facilities for persons with disabilities and specifically earmark them.

And that these seats cannot be adjusted with vacancies under other categories.

“Two issues arise out of the plea. The first being whether it is mandatory in law to identify seats reserved for differently-abled persons in medical specialities when applicants are invited from eligible candidates. The other issue which arises is a directive issued by the ministry of social justice and empowerment, government of India, requiring reservation in the medical field only in non-surgical posts,” the Court said.

“It is the second issue which troubles us more than the first. Prima facie, we find it strange that the ministry of social justice and empowerment would be of the opinion that differently-abled persons per se would be unfit to perform duties as a doctor in a discipline which requires surgical procedures to be performed,” it said.

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