Physically challenged persons cannot be denied government jobs if their deformity will not in any way affect the nature of work to be performed by them, the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai has said.

Physically challenged persons cannot be denied government jobs if their deformity will not in any way affect the nature of work to be performed by them, the Madras High Court Bench here has said.

Setting aside an order passed by a single judge, a Division Bench of Justices Chitra Venkataraman and M. Duraiswamy directed the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) to employ a person afflicted with polio as a bus conductor.

P. Senthil Kumar of Dindigul had filed the present writ appeal against the dismissal of a writ petition by a single judge on the ground that the petitioner suffering with 40 per cent disability was not eligible to be employed as a bus conductor.

Reversing the dismissal order, the Division Bench pointed out that a Senior Civil Surgeon of a Government hospital at Dindigul had opined that the deformity in the lower limb of the petitioner would not be a hindrance in working as a conductor.

The judges recalled that another Division Bench of the High Court in the case of P. Mahavishnu Vs. TNSTC (2008) had directed the TNSTC to appoint a person, who suffered from physical deformity on his left hip, as a conductor.

Then, the court had observed that refusing employment to a physically challenged person, whose deformity does not interfere with the functions of a conductor, does not meet the standards of fairness. "As a result of the deformity, his gait, if at all, may become a little inartistic. The petitioner is not appointed as a dance trainer but only as a conductor in a bus," the judgment read.

The court went on to state: "It cannot be disputed that in the present-day grim situation of unemployment, a person’s opportunity to be employed has been equated by the Apex court as his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. So by denying employment to the petitioner, virtually, his fundamental right to life is sought to be taken away."

Following this decision and also considering the medical opinion given by a Senior Civil Surgeon in the present case, the Division Bench of Justices Venkataraman and M. Duraiswamy directed the TNSTC to appoint the polio-afflicted appellant as a conductor in its Dindigul division within four weeks.