Sunday, January 8, 2017

Chattisgarh 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"!

Judgement Copy
To read the judgement dated 02nd Jan 2017 of the Chhattisgarh High Court in Writ Petition (S) No.640 of 2014 titled Sanjay Sondhi Vs. State of Chhattisgarh & Ors click here

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.

I 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.

1 comment:

Sandeep Goyal said...

Sir, this is high time we should have special courts to hear disability related cases. Think normal judges are not trained on disability matter and therefore fails to understands the issues, international practices etc.