SC welcomes steps to implement quota for disabled

SC welcomes steps to implement quota for disabled
SC welcomes steps to implement quota for disabled

In rare appreciation, the Supreme Court today welcomed the steps taken by the government in filling up vacancies meant for differently-abled persons and disposed of a contempt plea alleging “wilful disobedience” of an order to provide three per cent quota to such persons.

“We have considered rival submissions. In view of the compilation filed by the Solicitor General, it seems that there is an unequivocal and unambiguous commitment by the Union of India to fill up the posts,” a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said.

“We cannot hold that there is wilful disobedience of the order of this court,” it said, adding that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar have told the court that the process of filling up of over 15,000 vacancies has begun and would conclude by February next year.

Disposing of the plea of NGO National Federation of the Blind, the bench said filling up so many posts was a “large scale process and to which the Union stands committed” and termed the exercise as a “positive step”.

The court’s order came on the plea which sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and its Secretary for not complying with an earlier order of providing three per cent quota in jobs to persons with disabilities.

The bench, however, did not deal with the issue as to whether the three per cent quota could be provided in cases of promotions also.

It rejected the submission that the Bombay High Court had held that reservation be given in promotions also and this decision had attained finality as the appeal and review of the government against it were rejected by the apex court.

“The SLP (special leave petition against HC order) was dismissed simplicitor. In the absence of any reason (for dismissal), we cannot speculate,” it said.

During the hearing, the Solicitor General said that quota is not permissible in the case of promotions and it has to be given “in fresh appointments” only.

Quota for disabled not within 50 percent ceiling, says SC

disabledThe Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that the “reservation for persons with disabilities has nothing to do with the ceiling of 50 percent” and hence the ceiling imposed by the apex court by its earlier judgment was not applicable with respect to the disabled.

The court rapped the governments in the country for not ensuring that the disabled people get the benefits that the 1995 legislation extended to them in terms of equal opportunities and protection of rights.

It gave the ruling while disposing of a petition by the central government challenging the directions issued by the Delhi High Court in pursuance to 1995 act providing for three percent reservation for people with physical disabilities.

“Employment is a key factor in the empowerment and inclusion of people with disabilities,” Supreme Court Chief Justice P.Sathasivam heading a bench observed, and directed that the three percent job reservation for the disabled given under the 1995 act be strictly adhered to.

The bench that also included Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi clarified that the “reservation for persons with disabilities has nothing to do with the ceiling of 50 percent” and hence the ceiling imposed by the apex court by its earlier judgment was not applicable with respect to the disabled.

“Even though the act (the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995) was enacted way back in 1995, the disabled people have failed to get required benefit until today,” said the bench.

“It is an alarming reality that the disabled people are out of job not because their disability comes in the way of their functioning… rather it is social and practical barriers that prevent them from joining the workforce,” Chief Justice Sathasivam said.

“As a result, many disabled people live in poverty and in deplorable conditions. They are denied the right to make a useful contribution to their own lives and to the lives of their families and community,” said the court.

“After thoughtful consideration, we are of the view that the computation of reservation for persons with disabilities has to be computed in case of Group A, B, C and D posts in an identical manner viz., computing three percent reservation on total number of vacancies in the cadre strength which is the intention of the legislature.”

Accordingly, the court said that certain clauses in the office memorandum dated Dec 29, 2005, contrary to the above reasoning are struck down and the appropriate government directed to issue a new memorandum(s) “consistent with the decision rendered by this court” within three months.

It further directed the “appropriate Government” to compute the number of vacancies available in all the “establishments” and further identify the posts for disabled people within a period of three months from Tuesday and implement the same without default.

It directed the central government to issue “instructions to all the departments/public sector undertakings/government companies declaring that the non-observance of the scheme of reservation for persons with disabilities should be considered as an act of non-obedience”.

Nodal officers responsible for the proper strict implementation of reservation for the disabled should face departmental proceedings in case of default.

The court said the governments are under the obligation of the Constitution and various international treaties to protect the rights of disabled people in the matter of their employment.

“The Union of India, the state governments as well as the union territories have a categorical obligation under the Constitution of India and under various international treaties relating to human rights in general and treaties for disabled persons in particular, to protect the rights of the disabled,” said the bench.