Admonishing the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and the Department of Public Works (Buildings and Roads) for flouting instructions on job reservation, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the authorities displayed lack of will to implement in letter and spirit the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act.
The censure by Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa came in a case of a visually impaired candidate, who was denied consideration for appointment as a Sub-Divisional Engineer (Civil) against the post reserved under the physically handicapped category.
Petitioner Rajesh Kumar said he was not even called for the interview held in March 2012, even though he was the sole visually impaired candidate who appeared in the screening test.
His counsel had contended that only “orthopaedic handicapped” candidates were called for the interview against two posts reserved for physically handicapped applicants.
Justice Dhindsa asserted that the Act, a social legislation for the benefit of persons with disabilities, provided for reservation of at least 3 per cent posts in all government establishments to the extent of 1 per cent each for persons suffering from blindness or low vision, hearing impairment and locomotive disability or cerebral palsy.
The instructions dated May 2, 1997, issued by the Department of Social Security and Development of Women and Children, in furtherance of the Act’s mandate, too clearly spelt out reservation to the extent of 3 per cent vacancies in direct recruitment of Class-I, II, III and IV service for physically handicapped persons with 1 per cent each for candidates suffering from blindness or low vision, hearing impairment and locomotive disability or cerebral palsy.
Describing as “ill-founded” the commission’s stance that the vacancy was not specifically reserved for a blind or visually impaired candidate, Justice Dhindsa said the fallacy stood exposed as vacancies were not reserved specifically even for the orthopaedic handicapped candidates.
On the PPSC’s stand that the bifurcation of 1 per cent vacancy for each category of physically handicapped candidates was to be done at the government level, Justice Dhindsa said the commission faulted in taking 3 per cent reservation as a composite unit. The department compounded the mistake by accepting the commission’s recommendations blindly, the judge said.
Allowing the plea, Justice Dhindsa directed holding of an interview to consider the petitioner for appointment against a vacancy or by creating a supernumerary post.
21 Sep 2019
22 Sep 2019