IAS barrier for disabled: court intervention welcomed

NEW DELHI, MARCH 3. Taking up cudgels on behalf of persons with disability who are not being allowed to enter the Indian Administrative Services, M.C.Nahata, Chairman of the High Power Committee on Disability Related Matters of the Union Government, has welcomed the Delhi High Court intervention in the matter.

Taking note of media reports, the High Court had recently issued notices to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the issue. "It is agonising to note that despite the presence of Rehabilitation Council of India Act 1992, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, and the National Trust Act, 1999, and expenditure of billions of rupees through various schemes of the Union Government for the welfare of the disabled through both government and non-government organisations, the disabled are denied their right to enter the Indian Administrative Services," Dr. Nahata said in a statement.

Dr. Nahata said the Government has made suitable provisions in the Persons with Disability Act, 1995, wherein Section 33 provides reservation of 3 per cent jobs for the disabled. He further said the Constitution of India in Article 14 and 16(1) provides that State shall not deny to any person equality before law including equality of opportunity in matters of public employment of appointment to any office respectively.

"The decision to ban the entry of disabled in the Indian Administrative Services is in contravention to the provisions made in PWD Act and the Constitution,'' Dr. Nahata said, arguing that "presently there is a strong political will available in the country as never before.'' He cited examples of the constitution of Disability Commission in the shortest possible time by the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, instructions issued to Doordarshan by the Deputy Prime Minister to exhibit life sketch of David Blunkett, the Home Minister of the U.K. who is blind as steps in favour of the disabled.

Dr. Nahata said the decision to put a barrier in the path of disabled's entry in the IAS appears to be the result of a complex in the bureaucracy which is a constant source of hurdle even for such a noble and human cause. He also pointed out that the NGO's have organised several programmes in the country to sensitise society including the bureaucracy but to no avail.

Under the circumstances, Dr. Nahata appealed to each citizen in the country to plead the cause of the disabled and requested the Union Government to identify

elements with negative approach and remove them from the disability field as well as take stern measures to avoid recurrence of such episodes.