The Supreme Court on Wednesday came to the rescue of a visually handicapped person who cleared the 2006 Civil Services examination and the interview but was denied employment.
It directed the Government of India to appoint him under the provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection, Rights and Full Participation) Act.
A Bench consisting of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph rejected the Centre's contention that since posts for the visually handicapped had not been identified, no appointment could be provided to respondent Ravi Prakash Gupta. Mr. Gupta, who is 100 per cent blind, himself argued the case.
Writing the judgment, Justice Kabir said the fact that the respondent was eligible for appointment in the civil services after having been declared successful and placed at Serial No. 5 in the Disabled Category of the visually impaired candidates could not be denied.
The Centre's contention on implementation of the provisions of Section 33 of the Disabilities Act only after identification of posts suitable for such appointment “runs counter to the legislative intent with which the Act was enacted.”
The Bench said that “to accept such a submission would amount to accepting a situation where the provisions of Section 33 of the Act could be kept deferred indefinitely by bureaucratic inaction. As has been pointed out by the High Court, neither Section 32 nor Section 33 makes any distinction with regard to Grade ‘A', ‘B', ‘C' and ‘D' posts.
They only speak of identification and reservation of posts for people with disabilities, though the proviso to Section 33 does empower the appropriate government to exempt any establishment from the provision of the said Section, having regard to the type of work carried on in any department or establishment.”
The judges said, “The Legislature never intended the provisions of Section 32 of the Act to be used as a tool to deny the benefits of Section 33 to these categories of disabled persons indicated therein.”
In the instant case, the Delhi High Court set aside the orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal rejecting the relief sought for by Mr. Gupta. It directed the Centre to grant him appointment as there was sufficient number of vacancies in which he could be appointed. The present appeal by the Centre is directed against this order.
The Supreme Court Bench, while declining to interfere with the High Court order, granted the Centre eight weeks for complying with the directions.
Disapproving of the Centre's stand, the Bench imposed Rs.20,000 costs on it to be paid in four weeks.