Monday, July 6, 2015

Visually Impaired Public Prosecutor denied Magistrate post despite clearing Test, approaches SC

Please refer to my earlier post  titled "Committee of Judges decide a VH can not be a Judge in Tamil Nadu" dated 08 June 2015. The said candidate who is already working as a public prosecutor and denied elevation as a magistrate on flimsy grounds of disability, has finally approached the Supreme Court of India. The issue has been covered by Times of India succinctly below:

A 70% blind person rejected for magistrate post despite being selected approach SC
A Subramani,TNN | Jul 6, 2015, 01.06 AM IST

CHENNAI: Perhaps emboldened by the success of significant number of differently-abled people cracking the civil services examination on Saturday, and the case of Beno, the first 100% visually disabled person to be absorbed in IFS, a 70% blind person rejected for magistrate post despite being selected, is now knocking at the Supreme Court doors.

V Surendra Mohan of Tiruvottriyu, who is an assistant public prosecutor of the CBI at present, cracked magistrate selection test, but was denied appointment by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission saying persons with more than 40% visual disability, could not be considered for magistrate's post. When challenged, Madras high court on June 5 upheld the rejection saying: "Taking into account the nature of duties to be performed by a civil judge, government in consultation with the high court, had proposed to restrict the applicability of the benefit of reservation only to those whose disability ranges from 40 per cent to 50 per cent."

The 'proposed amendment', does not deprive the benefit of reservation, but only restricts it to those whose percentage of disability is below 50%,' the high court reasoned.

Questioning the conclusion, Surendra Mohan filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court framing a volley of question of law. He said the high court had erroneously relied on admittedly a 'proposed amendment' to deprive him of his right to be appointed as a civil judge on the basis of his partial blindness as provided under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

Wondering whether the high court could proceed on the basis of a "proposed amendment" while ignoring the law as it stood, the SLP says when there is no other blind candidate available for any of the posts sanctioned, is it legal or equitable at all for the authorities to have relied on an internal correspondence between the government and the high court to ensure that no blind individual was accommodated.

Noting that with 70% blindness, he has been discharging his duties as an assistant public prosecutor, he said there is no legal basis for excluding him from the civil judge post. In a series of recruitment drives over the years, the posts reserved for the blind have gone abegging, Surendra Mohan said, adding: "This year as well, as a result of the illegal action of the authorities, no blind candidate has been recruited, reflecting a complete apathy on their part in discharging obligations placed on them by the Constitution and the laws."

According to an April 11, 2005 government order, for civil judge posts PB (partially blind) persons are eligible, the SLP said. A GO dated August 31, 2012 excludes only those with "complete blindness", and hence with 70% partial blindness he cannot in any way be excluded from the recruitment, Surendra Mohan has said.

Source: Times of India

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