Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SC directs States & UTs to consider Acid Attack Survivors in Disability List [Judgement Included]

Dear Friends,

On Monday i.e. 07th December 2015, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, while hearing WP(C) No. 867/2013 titled Parivartan Kendra Versus Union of India and Others,  directed all states to treat "Acid Survivors" as disabled persons and extend job reservation and social welfare schemes. While it's good thought to extend the benefits of this benevolent legislation to mainstream and empower acid survivors, will there be corresponding increase in the %age of reservation? Which disability group would give up their share ? 

A bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan said that steps must be taken to bring such victims to the national mainstream and putting them in the category of disabled person would be a step in that direction. The victims can claim benefits under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act if they are brought in the disability list.

The central law- The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 provides for reservation in jobs etc to the tune of 3% where 1% each is reserved for Visually Impaired (both low vision and Blind), Orthopedic Disabilities (including cerebral palsy) and Hearing Impaired. There are several other categories defined in the definition of a person with disability in the Act viz. Leprosy Cured, Mental Illness, Mental Retardation etc. but the reservation is not extended to any other categories except the above three. The judgement is silent on the process of granting such reservation as the law currently has no such provision. The direction in the last para is :

"Disposing of the present writ petition, we additionally direct all the States and Union Territories to consider the plight of such victims and take appropriate steps with regard to inclusion of their names under the disability list."

Let us see how the States and UTs respond to this direction coming from none other than top court of the country. But one thing is certain, in today's scenario, no disability group would be willing to let go their share!



Judgement
Here is a media coverage from Times of India: 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Visually Challenged / Blind will be considered for Ktk Adm Service exams from Next Year

Barred from even applying for the KAS Examination this year by Karnataka Public Service Commission, the visually impaired / blind candidates can look for KAS exams from next year where RPSC will also compensate for the number of reservation seats that might have fallen in their kitty. 

However, this doesn't compensate the opportunity lost by those candidate who may not have even looked at the stick of reservation and wanted to compete on their own merit. Their right to equality has been infringed and there can be no compensation of loss of opportunity and loss of time. This has not been appreciated either by the Court nor by the Govt. of Karnataka.  KPSC must extend further age relaxation to such candidates in the coming year who might have become overage due to such a lapsed opportunity to mitigate at least some loss.

Here is the news coverage from Deccan Herald.

HC orders quota for visually challenged in KAS posts
Bengaluru: Nov 17, 2015, DHNS:

The High Court has disposed of a petition, directing the Karnataka Public Service Commission and the State government to incorporate three per cent reservation for persons with low vision and the visually challenged for the posts of KAS officers or group ‘A’ posts in the next appointments.

The National Federation of the Blind had approached the court challenging the KPSC notification in January 2015, which had barred visually-challenged and those with low vision from applying for the posts. However, the court had directed the government to form a committee to examine possibility of including such persons. 

KPSC later issued another notification in October 2015, including persons with low vision and visually challenged as eligible to apply for the said posts in various government departments under the three per cent quota for persons with disabilities.

KPSC had called for applications for two posts of assistant commissioner in commercial tax and finance department and one post of executive officer in the Panchayat Raj department.

Advocate Jayna Kothari, appearing for the Federation, sought a stay on the KPSC’s exams and appointments. However, the stay was not granted, KPSC exams were held and necessary appointments were made in due course. 

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice S K Mukherjee and Justice B V Nagarathna passed an order stating that as the KPSC’s exercise of appointments had already been carried out, the petitioner’s contention cannot be considered this year. 

However, the bench directed KPSC and the government to incorporate the necessary percentage for people with low vision and visually challenged in next KPSC appointments for the said posts.

Source: Deccan Herald 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Consent Decree filed to ensure Physically Accessible Polling Centres in Augusta County, Virginia


Dear Colleagues,

The US Justice Department announced today that it has filed a complaint and proposed consent decree today in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia resolving allegations that Augusta County, Virginia has discriminated on the basis of disability by failing to provide physically accessible polling places to people with mobility and vision disabilities. Title II of the ADA requires public entities to ensure that all of their polling places are accessible to people with disabilities.

Under the consent decree, which must be approved by the court, the County agreed to make permanent architectural changes to a number of polling place facilities, and to provide temporary measures such as portable ramps and temporary doorbells at others, to provide accessible polling places throughout the County. The County, which cooperated with the United States, also agreed to revise its policies and polling place survey instrument, and provide training to poll officials.

Click here to read the Consent Decree. However, it throws light that disability continues to be a subject last on the agenda of administration -some times due to lack of awareness and while other times due to lack of enforcement - both in developed as well in developing world. Glad that Deptt of Justice has taken this initiative to make Polling Process accessible to residents with Disabilities in Augusta County and also to create mechanism for monitoring and enforcement for a longer term.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Disability Pension is independent of length of service - Punjab & Haryana HC

Dear Friends,

You don't need a qualifying service to be eligible for disability pension, the P&H High Court has clarified. The Union of India’s defended that the petitioner had less than 10 years of qualifying service required under Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 1972 to be eligible for disability pension, which the court rejected.  

Disability pension not linked to length of service, says HC
Saurabh Malik, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30, 2015

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that disability pension has no connection with the length of service and is payable when an employee suffers from disability.

Forty years after a Border Security Force official was invalidated out from service with 100 per cent blindness, the high court also held him entitled to disability pension from the date of discharge.

The court was told that petitioner Amarjit Singh had suffered acute eyesight failure, while he was posted in high altitude area in the Ladkah sector. In December 1974, the Union of India issued a letter claiming that the petitioner was not entitled to pensionary benefits as per the Rules. Subsequently, he was invalidated out from service in February 1975. He was seeking disability pension from the date of discharge but without success.

The Union of India’s case was that the petitioner had less than 10 years of qualifying service required under Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 1972. Taking up the matter, the Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Raj Rahul Garg observed the question of qualifying service arose to earn pension or invalid pension on attaining the age of superannuation under the Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 1972.
But the writ petitioner was invalidated out from service on account of medical condition. Such discharge entitled all persons paid from civil estimates to extraordinary pension, which included disability pension.
The bench added: “We find that under the 1972 rules, invalid pension is availed by an employee if he seeks retirement on account of any bodily or mental infirmity.

The case

  • Forty years ago, BSF official was invalidated out from service with 100 per cent blindness
  • The court was told that petitioner Amarjit Singh had suffered eyesight failure, while he was posted in the Ladkah sector
  • In December 1974, the Centre issued a letter claiming that the petitioner was not entitled to pensionary benefits as per the rules


Mumbai HC cites the capabilities of Blind as Solicitors & Advocates to deny claim of tax exemption for Eye Checkup

Dear Friends,

There are two areas worth noting in this judgement. Firstly, the Mumbai High Court has indicated that Blindness is no handicap in discharging the duties of a solicitor or an advocate and by that analogy even a judge. Secondly, you may not be able to claim tax exemption for tour expenses even for reasons of an eye test in computing the income chargeable under the head profits and gains from business or profession.

Shot in arm for disability advocates who have been facing extreme resistance from some states & their judiciary who have consistently denied people with blindness the opportunities of being  a judge by obtaining exemption under section 33 of the Disabilities Act. Crazy no?

Here is the news item from TNN:

Lawyer denied tax waiver for eye test done while abroad
Shibu Thomas, TNN | Oct 30, 2015, 01.30AM IST

MUMBAI: A person's eyes are not just used exclusively for professional purposes, said Bombay high court while rejecting a lawyer's claim seeking tax exemption for a foreign tour, which he claimed was a "pre-operative eye check-up".

A division bench of Justice M S Sanklecha and Justice Girish Kulkarni pointed to blind advocates practising in courts.

"Eyes are an important organ of the human body and are essential for the efficient survival of a human being. Eyes are essential not only for the purpose of business or profession but for purposes other than these," said the judges, adding, "We are not persuaded to accept the submission that eyes are required to be exclusively used for the purpose of profession. No evidence has been brought on record to establish that in the absence of investigation and treatment, the applicant would be handicapped in discharging his obligation as a solicitor/advocate. While at this, we cannot resist but point out that in this court itself, we have a couple of visually challenged advocates who are competent in discharging their duties."

The court also cited former advocate general of West Bengal Sadhan Gupta who was visually challenged. "It is therefore clear that the said expenditure as claimed by the advocate is not in the nature of the expenditure wholly and exclusively incurred for the purposes of the profession of the applicant and thus this expenditure cannot be claimed by the applicant to be allowed as deduction in computing the income chargeable under the head profits and gains from business or profession."

The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Dhimant Thakkar, who claimed tax exemption for the period 1986-87 of an amount of Rs 43,600 for a foreign tour, which he claimed was in connection with preoperative tests. The income-tax department rejected the claim saying the expenses were for a personal reason.

The advocate claimed that but for this treatment he would not have been able to continue with his profession and therefore the expenditure ought to have been allowed as a deduction for professional expenses. The HC disagreed and concurred with the tax department that if the advocates claims were accepted, then "every and all expenses incurred on daily living and food would be allowable as part of tax exemption".

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Supreme Court of India fumes at Several states silent on implementation of Disabilities Act

4th Sep, 2015

Bringing into focus the plight of disabled people, the Supreme Court today fumed at several states not filing responses as to steps taken to implement various provisions of the Disability Act.

In April , the apex court had issued notices to the Centre and all states on a plea seeking periodic monitoring of implementation of various provisions of the Disabilities Act. But ten states including Delhi Rajasthan, jharkhand have not yet filed responses.

An angry bench headed by justice Dipak Misra told lawyers representing several states: “let the matter now be posted for October 13. We are giving last chance to all states to file their responses. In the event of further failure strict action will be taken”. The plea states that a majority of citizens belonging to disabled  category have not got any relief even two decades after the rules were passed.

Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation, on whose petition the court has been issuing orders for the welfare of the differently-abled since 1998, had moved an application saying that unless there was an effective monitoring system on the lines of Vineet Narain judgment in which the SC is keeping a tab on investigation of various corruption cases and issuing periodic directions, the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, will merely remain on paper.

Ambar Qamaruddin, the lawyer for the petitioner, pointed out that the court itself had last year observed that only the Centre, some states and the UGC had satisfied it on the implementation of the rules.

A majority of the states were yet to comply with it and thus, the need for a monitoring mechanism.

“Even in last year’s order, the court had said all measures had to be taken ‘positively by the end of 2014’ but nothing had happened,” Qamaruddin submitted.

“Central government, state governments and UTs may be directed to file a quarterly/half yearly status report before the court,” he argued.

The directions pertained to reservation of 1% of identified teaching posts in various schools and colleges for the disabled, jobs in private sectors and PSUs, seats for students in various universities and creating special
facilities for differently-abled persons at public places such as railway stations, bus terminus, airports and in trains, buses and aircraft.

Directing that all measures be taken by the end of 2014, the court had in its order in March, 2014, said: “The beneficial provisions of the 1995 Act cannot
be allowed to remain only on paper for years and thereby defeating the very purpose of such law and legislative policy.

“As a matter of fact, the role of the governments in the matter such as this has to be proactive. In the matters of providing relief to those who are differently-abled,
the approach and attitude of the executive must be liberal and relief oriented and not obstructive or lethargic.

“A little concern for this class who are differently-abled can do wonders in their life and help them stand on their own and not remain on mercy of others.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Supreme Court on filling up of backlog Disability quota (in promotion?)

A unique example of how selected media reporting can create grapevines.  I have learnt that the proceedings in the court were completely different from what has been reported here by the TNN.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court was actually hearing a contempt petition filed by the National Federation of the Blind against the Central Govt for complying with the court's October 8, 2013, regarding filling up of 15000 vacant posts. SC dismissed the plea saying that implementation is under way and accepted Center's response that it will be completed by 31st March 2016.

In this context, While disposing of the plea, SC clarified that since the Govt. of India has committed itself to fill up the entire backlog of vacancies numbering about over 15,000 by way of a special recruitment drive in terms of office memorandum dt. 22.5.15, the contempt proceedings will not be initiated. 

The court said the question of reservation in promotion was not there for adjudication since its October 2013 judgment was only in respect of filling up the vacancies reserved for physically disabled people at the entry point, and could not be read into promotion. The story made out thus is unnecessary reading between the lines.

The bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said this while giving clarification on its October 2013 judgment by which the court had held that the 3 percent reservation for physically challenged people would depend on the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength.

The court said its order has to read in the context of two questions it had framed and addressed in its October 8 judgment. And these two questions were:

(a) First was about the manner of computing 3 percent reservation for people with disabilities as per Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 Act.

(b) The second question that the court had answered in the October 8 judgment was whether the reservation should be post-based or vacancy-based.

I feel the Hon'ble Bench  thus did not sit to review or clarify its earlier order on the issue of reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities. In fact after the said judgement of October 08, 2013,  the Hon'ble SC upheld the orders of Bombay High court, High court of Delhi and High court of Allahabad laying down that Section 33 includes reservation in promotion as well by way of various judgments particularly judgments dt. 10.12.13 in Civil Appeal No. 9473/2011 titled as Municipal Corporation of Delhi Vs. Manoj Gupta, judgment dt. 12.9.14 in C.C. No.13344/2014 and judgment dt. 27.2.15 in civil Appeal No.5914/2015 titled as Union of India Vs. National Confederation for Development of Disabled and Ors and judgment dt. 20.3.15 in Civil Appeal No.4641/2015 titled as State of U.P. Ors. Vs. Sanjeev Kumar Jain and Ors. dismissing the civil Appeals/ SLPs both of Govt. of India as well as respective State Govts.

Therefore, it is to be clearly understood that if  SC /ST are given the quota in direct recruitment as well as in promotion, the disabled category should not be left out from this benefit under the benevolent legislation whose mandate is equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation of those living with disabilities.  The govt should bring out appropriate revised DoPT memo to implement this long pending issue of reservation in promotion for government employees with disabilities.

Here is the TNN reported version that sought to create confusion among the stakeholders :

SC: Differently abled can’t claim quota in promotion

Amit Anand Choudhary,TNN | Sep 2, 2015, 05.36 AM IST


NEW DELHI: Differently abled persons can claim benefit of reservation in government jobs only at the time of appointment and cannot get the benefit of the affirmative policy in promotion, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday while clarifying its earlier verdict.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said the apex court's 2013 verdict did not hold that the reservation policy could also be extended to promotion in jobs and stressed that the disabled could claim benefits only at the time of recruitment.

The SC had in 2013 directed the Centre and all state governments to provide three per cent job reservation to disabled persons in all their departments, companies and institutions under Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act which came into force in 1995.

The Centre submitted that the court had not, while passing order for three percent reservation, dealt with the issue of reservation in promotion and the disabled could not be allowed to claim the benefits.

Although the Court had directed that all vacancies under 3% reservation be filled up within three months, the governments failed to comply with the order in the last two years and there are still 10,000 vacant posts in central government. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar assured the court that all vacancies would be filled up by the end of this financial year.

Source: Times of India 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Frame rules for appointing Disability Commissioner- Ktk HC

Frame rules to appoint commissioner for disabled, HC tells govt
Bengaluru, Aug 04, 2015, DHNS:

The High Court on Monday directed the State government to frame rules and guidelines for appointing the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in four months and to appoint a new commissioner by following the new rules.

Hearing a petition by the All India Physically Handicapped Welfare Association, challenging the appointment of K S Rajanna as the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice S K Mukherjee and Justice B V Nagarathna disposed of the petition. The bench passed an order stating that Rajanna can remain the commissioner till the new rules are framed and a new commissioner is appointed. The petitioners had contended that Rajanna - who himself is a disabled person - is not eligible enough to hold the position of Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. The petitioner had challenged his appointment as the commissioner.

Source: Deccan Herald 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Trial Court takes offence to lack of dignified mobility & human rights of an accused with disabilities

Disabled accused made to crawl to fifth-floor court
Sana Shakil,TNN | Aug 6, 2015, 02.17 AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court here was left shocked when a disabled person, an accused in a criminal case, had to crawl on his hands to the fifth-floor courtroom because police did not think of arranging a wheelchair for him.

The accused, Yameen Malik, whose legs appeared to be deformed, was being produced in court on Monday for custody proceedings in a rape case.

When additional sessions judge Sanjay Sharma found Malik crawling in the courtroom, he questioned the investigating officer whether there were wheelchair facilities in the jail lock-up for production of disabled persons in court. The IO failed to give any answer.

"The court was shocked to see that the accused, who somehow managed to crawl on his hands, was produced before the court without a wheelchair. It means he has crawled all the way from the jail to this courtroom on the fifth floor of the complex. This is quite painful," the judge observed.

The judge has sought a detailed report from the Delhi Police commissioner and director general of prisons on what the existing provisions were for accused persons with disabilities.

The court said it appears that Malik was being produced in court in the same manner since he was arrested on July 27, 2015.

"This court is of the opinion that there was no arrangement (of a wheelchair) when he was arrested and lodged in police lock-up, produced before the court the first time and made to board the jail van as well as when he was received in jail lock-up at Karkardooma complex. The case demonstrates total lack of sensitivity and concern for the rights of a disabled person," the judge observed.

The court stated that a person with disabilities was entitled to an equal opportunity to access the justice system and could not be denuded of his basic human rights to be treated with dignity and respect. "...it is the duty of the state to make %the legal system accessible to such a person by making an effort to remove physical barriers," it stated in an order passed on Monday.

The court has asked the police commissioner to state whether wheelchairs are available at all police stations and jail lock-ups. It sought to know if there were any disabled-friendly toilets at police stations. The police chief was also asked if any direction had been issued to police stations for providing wheelchairs.

The judge told the police chief to inform the court about action taken against the IO of the case and lock-up incharge of Karkardooma court complex for violating directions, if any, on movement of disabled persons. Similar questions were put to the DG of Tihar regarding disabled-friendly facilities in the prison complex. Compliance reports from both offices are likely to be filed in court on Thursday.

Malik was arrested on charges of raping a minor girl. The case is at an initial stage.

A police officer told TOI that there were specific directions on how accused persons with disabilities are to be dealt with. Police are duty-bound to provide wheelchairs in such cases, he said. "Generally, we avoid arresting any accused with disability unless it's imperative and may affect investigations. But it's the duty of the investigating officer to arrange for a wheelchair before arresting the accused or producing him before the court," said the officer, who did not wish to be named.

Times View

It is shocking that a disabled person who is an accused should have had to crawl up five floors to be present in the courtroom. His human rights do not cease to exist merely because he is an accused, even if it is for a heinous crime. Indeed, they would not cease to exist even if he were convicted of that crime. Police should have ensured that he was provided a dignified means of getting up there. If for some reason that was not possible—say because the lift was not working—the proceedings should have been shifted to a venue, like the ground floor, more accessible to a disabled person.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Disabled-accused-made-to-crawl-to-fifth-floor-court/articleshow/48367771.cms

Monday, July 20, 2015

SC directs TN govt to keep a Judge slot for visually impaired candidate


Keep judge slot for 70% blind lawyer, SC tells Tamil Nadu govt
A Subramani, TNN | Jul 18, 2015, 05.54PM IST

CHENNAI: A CBI prosecutor suffering 70% blindness is close to realizing his dream of becoming a judicial magistrate, as the Supreme Court has directed Tamil Nadu government to keep one post of civil judge vacant for him.

An interim order to this effect was passed by a bench of Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S A Bobde on July 10.

Though V Surendra Mohan, 29, of Thiruvotriyur in Chennai got through written examination his name was not shortlisted for viva voce. He filed a writ petition for inclusion in the interview list. As an interim order, the court allowed him to take part in the interview and the result was kept in a sealed envelope. When it was opened after a later order, it was revealed that Surendra Mohan had secured 178 marks out of 400 in written examination, and 38.25 marks out of 60 in viva voce. To a court query, Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission said he was well within the zone of consideration and appointment for a civil judge post.

However, he was not considered for appointment since he suffered more than 50% visual disability, whereas a proposed amendment to rules limited the disability between 40% and 50% for eligible candidates.

On June 5, the high court upheld his exclusion saying, "Taking into account the nature of duties to be performed by the civil judge, the government in consultation with the high court, had proposed to restrict the applicability of the benefit of reservation only to those whose disability ranges from 40% to 50%."

Surendra Mohan took the case to the Supreme Court saying the high court "wholly erroneously relied on admittedly a 'proposed amendment' to deprive him of his right to be appointed as a civil judge on the basis of his partial blindness as provided under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995."

The judgment proceeds to reject the petitioner's claim without either an executive order or an amendment coming into force, he said, adding, "without the law having been changed, there was no basis for the judgment at all."

Reiterating that there is no way he could be excluded from the selection process, he said a GO dated April 11, 2005 clearly notified that PB (partially blind) persons are eligible for civil judge post. "The petitioner, who has 70% partial blindness, cannot in any way be excluded from the recruitment, he said, adding that the high court judgment overlooked the overwhelming discrimination in the system against the disabled, and in an egregious step it excludes the only fully eligible blind man."


Monday, July 6, 2015

Visually Impaired Public Prosecutor denied Magistrate post despite clearing Test, approaches SC

Please refer to my earlier post  titled "Committee of Judges decide a VH can not be a Judge in Tamil Nadu" dated 08 June 2015. The said candidate who is already working as a public prosecutor and denied elevation as a magistrate on flimsy grounds of disability, has finally approached the Supreme Court of India. The issue has been covered by Times of India succinctly below:

A 70% blind person rejected for magistrate post despite being selected approach SC
A Subramani,TNN | Jul 6, 2015, 01.06 AM IST

CHENNAI: Perhaps emboldened by the success of significant number of differently-abled people cracking the civil services examination on Saturday, and the case of Beno, the first 100% visually disabled person to be absorbed in IFS, a 70% blind person rejected for magistrate post despite being selected, is now knocking at the Supreme Court doors.

V Surendra Mohan of Tiruvottriyu, who is an assistant public prosecutor of the CBI at present, cracked magistrate selection test, but was denied appointment by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission saying persons with more than 40% visual disability, could not be considered for magistrate's post. When challenged, Madras high court on June 5 upheld the rejection saying: "Taking into account the nature of duties to be performed by a civil judge, government in consultation with the high court, had proposed to restrict the applicability of the benefit of reservation only to those whose disability ranges from 40 per cent to 50 per cent."

The 'proposed amendment', does not deprive the benefit of reservation, but only restricts it to those whose percentage of disability is below 50%,' the high court reasoned.

Questioning the conclusion, Surendra Mohan filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court framing a volley of question of law. He said the high court had erroneously relied on admittedly a 'proposed amendment' to deprive him of his right to be appointed as a civil judge on the basis of his partial blindness as provided under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

Wondering whether the high court could proceed on the basis of a "proposed amendment" while ignoring the law as it stood, the SLP says when there is no other blind candidate available for any of the posts sanctioned, is it legal or equitable at all for the authorities to have relied on an internal correspondence between the government and the high court to ensure that no blind individual was accommodated.

Noting that with 70% blindness, he has been discharging his duties as an assistant public prosecutor, he said there is no legal basis for excluding him from the civil judge post. In a series of recruitment drives over the years, the posts reserved for the blind have gone abegging, Surendra Mohan said, adding: "This year as well, as a result of the illegal action of the authorities, no blind candidate has been recruited, reflecting a complete apathy on their part in discharging obligations placed on them by the Constitution and the laws."

According to an April 11, 2005 government order, for civil judge posts PB (partially blind) persons are eligible, the SLP said. A GO dated August 31, 2012 excludes only those with "complete blindness", and hence with 70% partial blindness he cannot in any way be excluded from the recruitment, Surendra Mohan has said.

Source: Times of India

Monday, June 29, 2015

A person with 71% physical disability can't study Medicine - says MCI's resolution!

Dear Colleagues,

The resolution of Medical Council of India  that the disability must be between 40 per cent and 70 per cent to be eligible for admission and for seeking a seat reserved for candidates with physical disability itself is faulty. The degree of disability is a medical model and can not be a conclusive reason to declare what a person with disabilities can do or not do. Then we have highly subjective disability evaluation system wherein two different doctors give different grading of disability to the same person. A person with 71% will thus be technically outrightly rejected for the wrong assessment due to subjectivities involved.

Hon'ble High Court may have given the benefit to the petitioner in the instant case, however, technically even the bench is not competent to decide on the degree of disability, unless doubting the State Medical Board's assessment, it ordered for re-constitution of Medical Board which gave an otherwise recommendation on it. 

At the most, the bench could have expressed its opinion on the discernible abilities of the petitioner observed by them and ordered accordingly. I feel, getting in to guess work of percentage of disabilities is like falling in to the trap of 40-70 percentage set out by the improper and unreasonable resolution of the MCI which is not supported by the disability legislation in the country. This classification has been created by MCI of its own which doesn't stand the test of law.

Here is the news coverage:

Reconsider admission of physically disabled student: HC

A special medical board set up by the state government had found the student unfit for health science courses and ineligible for a seat under the physically disabled quota as his disabilities stood at 88 per cent.

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | Mumbai | Published on:June 26, 2015 2:50 am

Noting the movements of a physically disabled student inside the courtroom, the Bombay High Court has directed the state government to consider his admission in the first of year MBBS course. The student was earlier denied admission under the physically handicapped quota.

“He (petitioner) has been walking with braces and having seen his physical movements in the court room, we are of the view that his disability cannot be assessed as 88 per cent. His case should be considered for admission to the first year MBBS course on the basis that his disability is between 50 per cent and 70 per cent ,” said Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A K Menon.

Earlier, a special medical board set up by the state government had found the student unfit for health science courses and ineligible for a seat under the physically disabled quota as his disabilities stood at 88 per cent. While under the Medical Council of India resolution, the disability must be between 40 per cent and 70 per cent to be eligible for admission and for seeking a seat reserved for candidates with physical disability.

The HC, however, directed the state government to consider his case on the basis of his marks obtained by him in the common entrance, MH-CET, 2015, for admission to first MBBS course in a seat reserved for physically handicapped.

The student had sought admission to the first year MBBS course in the Government Medical College in a seat reserved for physically handicapped on the ground that his disability is between 50 percent and 70 percent.

He was born on March 18, 1996 and had been suffering from congenital disability involving both the lower limbs due to Bilateral Congenital Dislocation (CHD) of hip and Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTEV).
From 1996 to 2004, his father who is a doctor, provided him with treatment and care, including multiple surgeries and physiotherapy.

The boy underwent five surgeries on the deformities and the correction was carried out to the extent that there is no more dislocation of the hip joint.

There were, however, restrictions to the hip joint while doing physical activities of the lower limb. Pooja Thorat, the petitioner’s lawyer, informed the court that the special medical board has examined him without wearing braces. “He, infact, was wearing braces even while studying in school and was himself commuting from his residence to the school,” the lawyer had submitted.



UPSC discriminates against disabled in Civil Services Exam - PIL

HC notice on PIL on quota for disabled in civil services exam
Last Updated: Saturday, June 20, 2015 - 00:58

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre and UPSC on a plea by an organisation for disabled persons seeking quashing of the civil services exam notification alleging non-implementation of statutory three per cent quota for handicapped persons.

A bench of justices Mukta Gupta and P S Teji issued notice to the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and sought their reply by July 15 on the plea by Sambhavana which has alleged non-compliance of high court's orders.

Sambhavana has claimed that as per the examination notice, approximately 1129 vacancies are expected to be filled, out of which only five vacancies have been reserved for candidates with visual impairment, whereas the Supreme Court in 2013 had held that three per cent reservation on total number of vacancies in the cadre strength have to be reserved against candidates with disabilities.

In its PIL filed through advocates Pankaj Sinha and Nupur Grover, Sambhavana has alleged "blatant disregard" on the part of the central government and UPSC for neither following high court's orders nor complying with provisions of the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act.

"The examination is also being conducted in contravention of the guidelines for conducting written examination for Persons with Disabilities notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which have also been held to be mandatorily followed in various judgements passed by this court," the petition has said.

Besides not implementing the quota, it has said UPSC also did not adopt the exam writing policy for disabled on the basis of guidelines of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD).

It has claimed that due to non-implementation of the high court's directions, disabled aspirants are unable to give exams in an accessible environment.

The organisation has said that as per the PWD Act, it is the statutory obligation of the government to "appoint not less than three per cent vacancies for the persons or class of persons with disabilities".

"This implies that the minimum level of representation of persons with disabilities deals with the distribution of this three per cent among the three categories of disabilities namely, blind and low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disabled or cerebral palsy and hence, one per cent of seats should be reserved for each of the said categories," it has said.

"It is pertinent to note that in the impugned examination notice, the three per cent reservation has not been adequately meted out by Respondent No. 2 (UPSC) and hence, discrimination on the basis of blindness has been clearly shown," the plea has said.

The petition has sought equal bifurcation of the vacancies amongst the three categories as well as directions to the government and UPSC to implement the executive order of Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, with respect to "uniform guidelines for scribes for persons with disabilities."

It has also sought "filling up of all backlog vacancies of persons with disabilities arising since 1996 till date".  

PTI/ Zee News



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kerala High Court: Non-consideration of VH candidate by Kannur University illegal

Terming the non-consideration of VH candidate and appointment of another candidate on the post reserved for persons with Disabilities as illegal, High Court has directed the Kannur University to appoint the visually impaired petitioner within two months.


HC to the aid of visually challenged woman

KOCHI, June 9, 2015
K.S. SUDHI

The High Court of Kerala has come to the support of Prasannakumari, a visually challenged woman from Chottanikkara, who appeared for an interview to a post of lecturer in law reserved for disabled persons in Kannur University.

Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar of the High Court ordered Kannur University to consider the suitability of Ms. Prasannakumari “for the post notified by treating her as a candidate who has the necessary age qualification for the post and is otherwise eligible for the post.”

The court also ordered the university to complete the aforesaid exercise within two months.

In her writ petition, the 40-year-old woman stated that she applied for the post of lecturer in law, reserved for the physically challenged, in 2008 and appeared for the interview on October 5, 2011.

Later, she received information that another woman had been appointed to the post.

The petitioner approached the court to quash the appointment and direct the university to consider her for the post.

Allowing the petition, the court held that the “action of the university in not considering the suitability of the petitioner for the post of lecturer in law, under the quota earmarked for the physically challenged candidates, is clearly illegal.”

The court also declared illegal the appointment of another candidate to the post that was intended for physically challenged candidates, consequent to a finding that no such candidate was available.

The appointment of another candidate as the lecture in law was also annulled by the court.

Source:  The Hindu 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Committee of Judges decide a VH can not be a Judge in Tamil Nadu

What can be more sad than this case wherein the judiciary has decided among themselves and advised the State Government that Visually impaired can not be function as a Judge! We have had many progressive judgements from Chennai High Court, but this one is pretty unreasonable. I am hopeful, this is challenged before the double bench soon.

Here is this story from Tamil Nadu appearing in Times of India.

Partial blindness shatters man’s judge dreams
A Subramani,TNN | Jun 8, 2015, 01.06 AM IST


CHENNAI: A person suffering from 70% blindness has failed to secure the post of a civil judge despite clearing the written examination and viva voce, as the Madras high court ruled that visual disability of more than the maximum permissible limit of 50% cannot be allowed for civil judges.

Dismissing the writ petition of the aspirant V Surendra Mohan, Justice V Ramasubramanian said, "Taking into account the nature of duties to be performed by the civil judge, the government, in consultation with the high court, had proposed to restrict the applicability of the benefit of reservation only to those whose disability ranges from 40-50%. If a person has not less than 40% blindness, he becomes eligible for the benefit of reservation. This fundamental and essential feature of the reservation is not taken away by the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment, while not depriving the benefit of reservation to those who come within the definition of the expression 'person with disability', restricts it to those whose percentage of disability, is 50% less. This cannot be termed as nullifying the effect of the statute."

Surendra Mohan, a partially blind person with the percentage of disability at 70%, applied for civil judge post, and passed the written examination. Since he was not included in the list of candidates short-listed for viva voce, he filed the present writ petition for inclusion in the interview list.

The court first allowed him to participate in the interview and said the result would be kept in a sealed envelope. But later it passed orders in favour of declaring the result, in purview of a different case. Surendra Mohan secured 178 marks out of 400 in written examination, and 38.25 marks out of 60 in viva voce, it was revealed.

A difficulty arose because a government order dated August 8, 2014, had made it clear that the benefit of reservation for the physically challenged is available only to those blind and deaf candidates whose percentage of disability is 40-50%.

S Vijay Narayan, senior counsel for Surendra Mohan, then assailed the provision saying it sought to dilute the benefits available to disabled people. Rejecting the submissions, Justice Ramasubramanian further said it was too late to challenge the selection, because, "a person, who participates in a process of selection, cannot later turn around and question the prescription contained in the very notification for recruitment."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Partial-blindness-shatters-mans-judge-dreams/articleshow/47578609.cms

Monday, May 4, 2015

Chennai HC asks for all GOs by Tamil Nadu on disability reservation for judicial scrutiny

Govt orders on disabled quota under HC scrutiny
TNN | May 3, 2015, 12.42AM IST

CHENNAI: All government orders in Tamil Nadu allowing or disallowing disabled persons from applying for certain posts in government services have come under judicial scrutiny, with the Madras high court making it clear that it would go through all such orders and circulars to ascertain possible anomalies and discriminations.

A directive to this effect was issued on Friday by the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam while dealing with a PIL challenging exclusion of all disabled persons, except those with orthopaedic disability, from the post of village administrative officer (VAO).

The matter relates to Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) notification to recruit VAOs. Since there was no mention about the quota for visually impaired persons, a federation for visually disabled persons challenged the legality of the employment notification. After being directed by the court to spell out its stand, the government filed a report agreeing that there should not be any blanket ban on visual or hearing impaired persons from applying for the jobs.

"In view of the question posed by this court, the report, in fact, agrees that there should not be a blanket exemption of persons with blindness and low vision or hearing impairment from reservation to the post of VAO or for that matter any post without considering the percentage of disability and level of functionality," the bench said.

The bench then felt there is a need to reconsider the notification, and added: "A person with disability has potential to enhance his skill either by using technology or training through rehabilitation process. It is stated that in respect of VAO a person with 40% visual impairment can discharge the functions after acquiring certain skills."

It then asked the government to take corrective action by issuing fresh GOs in supersession of the earlier orders, and suggested that it hand over a compilation of all the past and existing GOs in for judicial scrutiny. The matter was then adjourned to June 3 for further hearing.

Source: Times of India 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

SC issues notices on PIL challenging meagre Disability Allowance

Hon'ble Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre and Govt. of Odisha on a PIL challenging the meagre monthly disability allowance given to the disabled which is not sufficient to even maintain a person for two days. Here is the news coverage from Times of India

SC takes up petition on disability allowance
Amit Anand Choudhury,TNN | Mar 31, 2015, 04.40 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Is Rs 300 monthly allowance given by government sufficient enough for a totally disabled person to live a decent life? 

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea of a 27-year old physically disabled woman from Odisha who pleaded that the meagre amount provided by state government is not enough and government should frame a policy for providing adequate financial assistance to people like her. 

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and R K Agrawal issued notice to Centre and Odisha government on a PIL filed by Surati who is suffering from a rare phocomelia disease due to which there was uneven growth of her limbs leaving her 100% disabled. The court asked them to file response on her PIL. 

Surati, daughter of a plumber who is working in National Heart Institute in Delhi, filed the petition through advocate Prachiti Deshpande. 

Deshpande told the bench that Surati is totally disabled since her birth and she is not able to maintain herself on the disability allowances provided by the government. The advocate contended that the family could not afford artificial limbs for her and the court should intervene in the issue. 

Surati has only 30% upper portion of right arms whereas her left hand is totally deformed. She has only two fingers which are joined permanently. Her left leg is normal but her right leg is short with no knee joint. 

"It is the prime duty of governments to protect the health and interests of weaker section of society particularly the persons suffering for severe permanent disablement and remain sick. She has not been able to live on her own accord due to the permanent disability and the obligation lies on the part of government to do the needful," she said in her petition. 

She contended that her parents are finding themselves unable to maintain her as her father is the sole earning member in the family of five people. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Delhi HC directs Reserved Accessible Parking for Disabled across City of Delhi


Dear Colleagues,

The Delhi High Court on 11 Feb 2015, ordered civic agencies to reserve space for the disabled in every parking space across the city and punish errant contractors and attendants.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw  while hearing the PIL W.P.(C) No.1977/2014 titled Vinod Kumar Bansal Vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, said the agencies have till now only “paid lip service“ to several rules enacted to ensure access to the disabled and ordered them to “reserve parking spaces most suitable for persons with disability and in sufficient number after assessing the need.“

Indicating its seriousness, the HC directed the state government and its agencies to include a penalty clause in rules so that a parking attendant or contractor who doesn't reserve space for disabled is punished and the contract is cancelled immediately. However, the court left it to the discretion of the three corporations, DDA, NDMC and the government to explore the number of reserved spaces to be kept for the disabled.

On what moved the Hon'ble Court to rule in favour of the rights of disabled, it expressed, “Our own experience in Delhi shows that at several places though ramps have been provided to enable access to wheelchairs, they are there merely for namesake as the gradient is very steep. We want to draw the attention of all concerned agencies that they must standardize the gradient...We find the ramps to be inaccessible in certain places owing to the storm water drain on the sides of the roads which acts as a barrier between the road and the ramp leading to the pavement. All this comes in the way of optimum and intended use of our roads and pavements, with the same being congested, dusty , blocked, uneven and full of potholes, impeding movement."

Directions passed by the Court 

(a) all the concerned agencies to within six months hereof, in each of the parking spaces presently available, reserve parking space/s most suitable for persons with disability and in sufficient number after assessing the need and to on the board reserving the said parking space itself also give the name and phone number of the person with whom the complaint with respect to misuse of the said parking space is to be lodged; 

(b) feasibility of making a provision for action against the contractor / attendant of manned parking lots / places viz. of cancellation of contract etc. for allowing such reserved parking spaces to be used for parking by others be considered; 

(c) feasibility of providing for identification of vehicles of persons with disability be also explored so that it can be identified whether the vehicle parked in the said reserved parking space is of a person with disability or of some other person;

(d) the process of installation of auditory signals at all traffic lights be completed within six months; 

(e) all the concerned agencies to within the said time of six months ensure that all pavements are accessible to persons with disabilities, taking into consideration the observations made hereinabove; 

(f) dedicated phone lines/ e-mail address or other user ID for cross-platform mobile messaging applications for receiving complaints/images/videos of blocking the access to the pavements by encroaching thereon be provided and the telephone number for each district be widely advertised for enabling the citizens to make complaints with respect thereto and the name of the person responsible for dealing with the said complaint and the time within which the complaint is to be dealt with shall also be provided;

(g) each of the concerned agencies to within four weeks hereof file affidavits in the Court naming the person responsible for complying with the directions issued by us and such person shall be responsible for non-compliance of the directions."

Case not completely closed

Though the matter has been disposed off so far as reliefs claimed by the petitioner, but broadening the scope of the intervention, the Hon'ble High Court fixed the next date for hearing on 19 May 2015 with directions that the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and the Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT of Delhi should present their views in this respect before  the Hon'ble Court by filing affidavits, within a period of four weeks from today including as to the consultant / think tank / expert who / which can be entrusted with the said task.

Court expressed its dissatisfaction saying "It is sad that despite expending huge funds and the best intention of the officials and employees, the city is not able to achieve the world class status which it aspires...We are sure that a competent consultant assigned the said task would be able to devise a structure for better governance of the city".

Get a copy of Court Judgement in accessible format here

W.P.(C) No.1977/2014 Vinod Kumar Bansal Vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi


Media Coverage

(a) Here is a related Media coverage from Times of India in image format.



(b) To read the media coverage from source in accessible format click here: Times of India 

SC unhappy with Govt. steps for persons with mental disabilities

This update on a new PIL concerning the plight of persons with mental disabilities filed before Supreme Court from Telegraph

SC scans steps on mentally disabled

Our Legal Correspondent
New Delhi, March 26: The Supreme Court today directed the central government and all states and Union territories to explain the measures they have taken for the welfare of mentally challenged people across the country.

The court said it appeared that not much had been done so far, although the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, mandates governments to take adequate steps for their welfare.

"We are disposed to think that all the state governments have a definite role to see that the act is properly implemented and the persons under disability, which includes... mentally challenged persons, are taken care of as commanded by the act," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant said.

The court passed the order while dealing with a public interest petition that had complained about the pathetic living conditions in Asha Kiran, a government-run care home in Delhi for mentally challenged people.

The bench said it was "absolutely conscious" that this case had "arisen from an order" passed by Delhi High Court relating to the home. Yet, the "pathetic situation of this category of persons which have been highlighted before us in other states cannot be ignored", it said.

"On the contrary," the bench added, "we are obliged to think, occasion has arisen so that there can be a comprehensive study of the situation where this class of people are treated with dignity, respect and, as far as practicable, feel a part of the main stream of life."

The bench said it was "not oblivious of the fact" that in every case, it may not be possible "but there has to be an attempt to identify the possibility".

"We have been apprised at the Bar that the said effort has not been made and, if made, that is not adequate enough to meet the real challenge."

The bench noted that under Section 25 of the act, the government concerned and local authorities are duty-bound to take certain steps to prevent occurrence of disabilities and prepare a comprehensive education scheme providing for transport facilities and supply of books, besides financial incentives for parents or guardians.

"In view of the aforesaid, we direct the impleadment of the Union of India (and) all the states and Union territories. This court hopes and trusts that the Union of India and all the states and Union territories shall respond without taking recourse to any kind of subterfuge and none should take (an) adversarial position for the present cause has its own sacrosanctity," Justice Misra said in his order while fixing July 8 for the next hearing.

Source: The Telegraph

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Delhi HC directs UPSC to distribute vacancies equally [Judgement included)

Dear Colleages,

Please refer to my earlier post titled "Two High Courts direct Extra time, reasonable accommodation & reservation in CSE 2014" whererin writ petition was filed before the Delhi High Court as well as Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of UPSC's Notification Civil Services Examination 2014 on the grounds that it was against the rights of persons with visual impairments granted by the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995. 

While my earlier post contained the judgement of the case filed in Mumbai High Court and an interim order in the case filed in Delhi High Court, this post contains the final order passed in the case before the Delhi High Court bearing  WP (C) No. 3919 of 2014 titled Sambhavana Vs. Union of India and others dated 04 March 2015.

Directions by the Court 

(a) the respondent no.2 UPSC shall find out from the respective Cadre Controlling Authorities the reason for allocating the vacancies in excess of 3% unequally between the three categories aforesaid.

(b) if the Cadre Controlling Authorities are unable to give any valid reason, the vacancies in excess of 3% shall also be equally distributed between the persons with disability of all three categories and the appointments in pursuance to the Employment Notice impugned in the petition shall be made accordingly.

(c) Relief claimed seeking issuance of a direction to the respondents to comply with the Office Order dated 26th February, 2013 supra is concerned, we had in our order dated 19 th August, 2014 held that the guidelines contained therein were issued as per the directions of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities who is an Authority appointed under Section 57(1) of the Act and cannot be treated as mere executive instructions and the said guidelines having been issued for effective implementation of the provisions of the Disabilities Act, have statutory force and are bound to be implemented by all Departments and Authorities. No arguments whatsoever were addressed on the said aspect by the learned counsel for the respondents during the hearing of the writ petition and therefore, we hold with respect to the said prayer that the respondent no.2 - UPSC shall abide by the said guidelines for all times to come unless the same are varied in accordance with law.




Monday, March 2, 2015

SC dismisses yet another attempt of Centre to sabotage reservation for employees with disabilities in promotion

Dear Colleagues,


Despite a three judge bench of the then Chief Justice, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman of the Hon'ble Supreme Court rejecting the Centre's argument against the reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities on 12th Sep 2014 in Special Leave to Appeal (C) CC No(s). 13344/2014  in terms of The Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, the Union of India (read DoPT) has been dilly-dallying on the implementation of the Bombay High Court judgement in PIL 106/2010 dated 04 Dec 2013 titled National Confederation for Development of Disabled Versus Union of India and Ors by preferring some or the other objections since September 2014.

However, finally on 27 Feb 2015, a bench of Hon'ble Chief Justice HL Dattu and Mr. Justice AK Sikri of Hon'ble Supreme Court, have once again dismissed a Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No 5914/2015 (Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 05/12/2014 in NOML No. 690/2014 in  RPL No. 85/2014 in PIL No. 106/2010 passed by the High Court Of Bombay). 

"How do you expect disabled persons to compete with the abled persons," the bench asked while dismissing the appeal filed by the Centre against the Bombay High Court order directing it and the Union Public Service Commission to implement a three per cent quota in direct recruitments and promotions for the disabled in the IAS.

Like last time, The Hon'ble Bench did not give specific reasons. For a copy of Supreme Court Order dated 27 Feb 2015 click here.

However, a large section of media was present in the Supreme Court and has reported the proceedings succinctly


A report in Times of India covers the entire proceedings as below:

Source: Times of India 

‘Disabled should get reservation in promotion’
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 28, 2015, 03.33AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said the government could not deny quota in promotion to those who were appointed to a post under the reservation policy for the physically handicapped. 

A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and A K Sikri rejected the Union government's plea to set aside a high court decision ordering that those appointed in government service through physically handicapped quota would also be entitled to reservation while getting promoted. 

Arguing for the Centre, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said there were four categories of civil services and if a person had availed the reservation benefit in getting a job, it would be unfair to extend the reservation benefit yet again to him while considering him for promotion to the higher category of service. 

The bench was not convinced. It said, "Why confine the reservation benefit only to the entry level and not for promotion. If a person is disabled, he is always disabled. So, as long as the disability continues, he should continue to get reservation benefits. We feel that these disabled persons should have reservation not only at the entry level but also at the time of promotion." 

The law provides for 3% reservation to physically challenged persons in government service. After a long adjudication process on a public interest litigation, the apex court had directed governments to implement the quota for disabled and fill the vacancies including backlog. 

On October 8, 2013, the SC in a landmark order had directed the Centre and states to implement within three months an 18-year-old law mandating 3% reservation for such persons in government jobs. 

The 1995 Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act came into force on February 7, 1996 providing a minimum 3% reservation in government establishments to the extent of 1% each for persons suffering from blindness or low vision; hearing impairment; and locomotor disability or cerebral palsy. 

The reservations will be implemented by all government departments, public sector undertakings and government companies at the Centre and states, enlarging opportunities for persons with disabilities eligible for benefits under the law. 

Rejecting the AG's arguments, the bench of Justices Dattu and Sikri said, "Don't give a restrictive meaning to reservation by confining it to the appointment level. Disabled persons should be empowered to compete with normal people in promotion." 

When the AG argued further against grant of reservation benefits in promotion to disabled persons, the bench cut it short by telling him that persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes got the benefit of reservation both in appointment and promotion.