The Supreme Court has pulled up the government for denying a visually handicapped man an appointment in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) despite there being vacancies and his fulfilling the eligibility conditions.
Apparently unimpressed by the government’s contention that reservation for handicapped persons as provided under the Disabilities Act, 1995, could not be extended to the IAS cadre because the posts had not been identified, the court slapped Rs.20,000 on the government. The judgement was delivered late Tuesday evening and the information was released Thursday.
While dismissing an appeal by the government, the apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph said that the respondent Ravi Prakash Gupta’s claim for appointment in the Civil Services ‘cannot be denied’. The Court gave the government eight weeks to comply with its directions and appoint Gupta in the Civil Services.
The court upheld the Feb 25, 2009 verdict of the Delhi High Court which had directed the government to appoint Gupta in the Civil Services within six weeks. The high court too had imposed fine of Rs.25,000 on the government. The high court by its verdict had set aside the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) of April 7, 2008.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Altamas Kabir said the only relevant question is whether the failure of the government to identify posts under the Disabilities Act, 1995, could be a ground to deny the eligible disabled persons appointment under the reserved category. The court also asked whether the reservation provided under the Disabilities Act was dependent on identification of suitable posts.
The court said one provision of the Disabilities Act, 1995, could not be used to negate the reservation provided under another provision of the same Act.
The court also said that if one were to accept the contention of the government then it would amount to accepting a situation where the provisions of the Disabilities Act, 1995, ‘could be kept deferred indefinitely by bureaucratic inaction’.
In the present case Gupta had contended that the 3 percent reservation under the Disabilities Act, 1995 which came into force from 1996, for the civil services should have been effected from 1996 itself and not from 2006.
The government had contended that it was only in 2005 that it woke up to the fact that 416 positions for physically challenged persons, which it had identified in 1985, did not include the civil services.
The government said it was only in 2006 that it identified positions in the civil services to be reserved for disaled people and since then the disabled people were being accommodated against them.