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Wednesday, Dec 21, 2005
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BANGALORE: In a major relief to persons with disabilities, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by the State Government against the order of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities directing the Primary and Secondary Education, Personnel and Administrative Reforms, and Public Instruction departments to withhold the recruitment of 4,676 primary school teachers in the State.
The court directed the Government to rework the entire reservation process, providing reservation (five per cent) to persons with disability.
Justice B.S. Patil upheld the order of the Court of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities who, on November 18, directed the respondents to withhold the common entrance test on November 20 for selecting primary school teachers. The Commissioner had allowed an application by Nagaveni M.C. of Malur, Kolar.
An orthopaedically challenged person, Ms. Nagaveni sought his intervention after the State failed to reserve seats in the September 2005 notification calling for applications for posts of teachers.
She said the respondents, on September 3, 2005, invited applications for the posts in 42 educational districts. An adequate number of posts had not been reserved for persons with disabilities though there was an earlier government order reserving five per cent of posts for the disabled.
In its appeal, the State said it issued an order on July 20, 2005 for recruiting 4,676 primary school teachers. The selection of candidates would be made as per the Karnataka Education Service (DPI) (Recruitment) Annexure Rules, 2001.
This, it said, had been upheld by the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) and subsequently by the High Court.
The process had already started and hall tickets had been sent to more than 51,000 candidates. It had urged the court to set aside the order of the Commissioner and permit it to go ahead with the recruitment process as he had no power to stay it. Justice Patil observed that the main intention of the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act is to aid and come to the rescue of the disabled and to provide them effective, meaningful and urgent remedies for their rehabilitation and support.
Although he agreed with the Government's contention that the Commissioner cannot function as a court or a tribunal and issue directions, Justice Patil said he is the authority with the power to safeguard and protect the rights of the disabled.
Disposing of the appeal, he said it is now for the authorities to bestow serious thought on the issue and redo the reservation process.
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