Court judgements: The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities
1. Sonika vs. LIC Housing Finance Limited
Case No: 933/2001
Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under Section 59 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of rights and Full participation) Act, 1995.
Sonika had met with an accident during her childhood, which had resulted in total loss of vision in her left eye. She had applied for the post of Junior Executive Assistant in LIC Housing Finance Limited, Mumbai on 28.3.2000. She qualified for the position in the written test, computer skill test and Interview and on this basis was given an appointment letter by LIC Housing and Finance Ltd., New Delhi along with a Medical Report form.
The Complaint: Sonika was declared fit for the job by Dr Anu Dhir, however, the LIC Housing Finance Limited refused to pay heed to the medical opinion and rejected her candidature. Sonika's lawyers filed a complaint before the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under Section 59 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 against the Life Insurance Corporation.
The Judgment: As per the provisions of the PWD Act, persons with disability can be appointed against an unreserved vacancy provided the post is identified as suitable for them. The post of Junior Executive Assistant in the LIC has been listed as being suitable for the disabled including the totally blind and those with Low vision making it suitable for an individual with monocular vision. Furthermore, Sonika had qualified the written test, computer skill test and interview on her own merit as a general category candidate and was declared medically fit by a doctor recommended by LIC. On the basis of these arguments the court decreed that Sonika could not be denied appointment and advised the LIC to appoint her to the post of Junior Executive Assistant within a period of 30 days from the receipt of the judgment with a copy of the appointment letter to the court.
2. Mr. C.S. Sivakumar vs. State Bank of India
Case No. :1869/2001
Description: Mr. C.S. Sivakumar filed a complaint before the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under Section 59 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The complainant submitted that the respondent had published an advertisement in the Employment News dated 27 October - 2 November 2001 for various computer related specialist cadre posts i.e., Asstt. Manager (Systems), manager (System Analysis & Design), Dy. Manager (Networking), Dy. Manager (Programming - Oracle), Dy. Manager (Programming -C/C++) & Systems Administrator and Manger (Systems). The above posts are suitable for persons suffering from locomotor disability and hearing impairment. He alleged that 3% of the posts of Probationary Officer are reserved for orthopaedically handicapped only and no post is reserved for visually and hearing impaired persons. Accordingly, 3% of the Specialist Officers posts particularly the computer related posts should be reserved entirely for hearing impaired persons.
Judgement: The PWD Act does not envisage any weightage to be given to any category of disability for which reservation is to be provided under Section 33 of the Act. The prayer of the complainant for reserving the computer related posts exclusively for Hearing Impaired and Visually Impaired persons cannot be granted. The respondent is advised to work out 3% backlog reservation for persons with disabilities in terms of the instructions issued by Ministry of Finance in Office as well as Clerical staff grades and fill them up at the earliest.
3, Mr B. S. Gurm vs Ministry of Environment & Forests
Case No. :2767/2003
Complaint: Mr. B.S. Gurm, an orthopaedically handicapped person, filed a complaint before the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under Section 59 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 for redressal of his grievance. Mr Gurm submitted that he acquired disability while he was on official duty on Government Motorcycle. Before his transfer to Guwahati (Assam), he was working as Asst. Director in Wildlife Preservation, Sub-Regional Office, Amritsar(Punjab). The respondent suddenly transferred him to Guwahati to accommodate another person at Amritsar who was promoted to the post of Assistant Director and was posted at Guwahati. The respondent transferred him to Guwahati in place of that person without considering his disability.
Judgement: Respondent No.1 vide letter no. 8-4/2001-FE dated 20.10.2003 submitted that a view on the cancellation of the Orders for transfer of Shri B.S. Gurm from Amritsar to Guwahati has been taken and order for his transfer/posting to Sub-Regional Wildlife Office, Amritsar has been issued vide office order dated 20.10.2003. Keeping in view the fact that the respondents have redressed the grievance of the complainant, the proceedings in this case are dropped with the advice to the respondent to regularize the period of his absence by granting leave due to him and treat him on duty with effect from the date he was declared fit to join the duties i.e. 09.09.2003
4. Ms. Kavita Sharma vs. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan
Case No. :2793/2003
Complaint : Ms. Kavita Sharma, a person with visual impairment and resident of Panipat, Haryana, filed a complaint dated 9.9.2003 under section 59 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 against the Respondent. The complainant confirmed that she has been selected for the post of TGT (Hindi) under blind category but K.V.S posted her at K.V No.1, Srinagar. She further alleged that as she is visually impaired and unmarried, it will be very difficult for her to join K.V.S., Sri Nagar. She requested to consider her case sympathetically and post her either in Haryana or Delhi.
Judgement: During the personal hearing on 13.11.2003, the representative of the respondent submitted a communication dated 12.11.2003 which says that a vacancy of (TGT) Hindi arose on 31.10.2003 due to death of a teacher at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Muradnagar which falls under the jurisdiction of Delhi Region. The complainant has been posted to Muradnagar vide Memorandum No.F.38-1/2003/KVS(Estt.II)/Vol.VI/1730 dated 12.11.2003 a copy of which has also been submitted. Since the respondent has considered the request of the complainant and posted her to the region she had opted for as her first choice, then proceedings in ths case are dropped.
5. Chief Commissioner, Disabilities vs. Uttranchal Forest Hospital Trust
Case No. :2587/2002/262
Description : The Office of the Chief Commissioner, Disabilities upon taking Suo-moto notice of violation of Section 33 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full participation) Act 1995, registered a complaint u/s 59 of Persons with Disabilities Act against the respondent. Whereas Uttranchal Forest Hospital Trust Medical College, Uttranchal published an advertisement in the Hindustan Times dated 21 June 2002 for the posts of Assistant Professor. In this Advertisement, no provision regarding reservation for the physically handicapped persons was made in accordance with Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995
Judgement: In View of the material available on file and the written undertaking given by the respondent regarding filling up of one post of Assistant Professor, case is disposed of with the advise to advertise for the proposed post of Assistant Professor reserved for PH category in the Employment News within a period of 6 months from the date of receipt of this Judgement & Order. It is also advised that respondent calculate the actual representation of PWD's in each group and fill up the backlog, if any, in future recruitment's. While formatting the advertisement for filling up the posts reserved for PWD's, the following information should invariably be reflected:
a) information regarding sub categories of disabilities e.g., whether the post is reserved for blind or low vision; Deaf; or locomotor disabled or cerebral palsy;
b) that persons with disabilities having 40% or more disability are eligible for the post(s);
c) the number of posts against each category reserved for disabled;
d) Relaxation/concessions/exemption in age relaxation, application fee and eligibility criteria.
The name and address of the person with disability appointed against the reserved post of Asstt. Professor be submitted to this Court within 2 weeks from the date of his/her joining.
6. Chief Commissioner vs. High Court of Madhya Pradesh
Case No. : 2630/2002
Complaint: High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur published an advertisement in the Employment News dated 31 August - 6 September 2002 for the posts of Assistant Grade III, Stenographer, and Translator. In this advertisement, no reservation was made for the physically handicapped persons in accordance with Sec. 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995.
Judgement: The respondent is directed to work out 3% reservation for persons with disabilities in each group based on 100 point reservation register to be maintained for each post/group wherein point no 34 and 67 are reserved for persons with disabilities as per OM No. 36035/16.91 Estt (SCT) dated 18.2.1997 as modified by O.M. No. 36025/33/97 Estt.(Res) dated 4.7.1997 and read with O.M.No. 36035/14/98 Estt (Res.) dated 28.8.1998 issued by Department of Personnel & Training, Government or any other roster that the respondent is required to follow. Having worked out the backlog of reserved vacancies/current reservation in each group/posts, including the posts advertised in Employment news dated 31 August- 6 September 2002, the respondent shall reserve the required number of vacancies in each group/post for persons with disabilities. At least on vacancy each shall fall to the quota of persons with disabilities in the post of Assistant Grade III and Stenographer against currently advertised posts. Therefore the respondent shall fill at least one vacancy each in these two posts in the current recruitment exercise. However, if there are backlog vacancies also then the respondent shall also make well such backlog. Similarly if any vacancy of Translator falls to the quota of persons with disabilities the same be also filled by persons with disabilities against the current available vacancies.
7. Chief Commissioner Disabilities vs. Central Water and Power Research Station, Ministry of Water Resources
Case No. : 2669/2002
Complaint: The Chief Commissioner, Disabilities upon taking Suo-moto notice of violation of section 33 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act 1995, registered a complaint under Section 59 of persons with Disabilities Act against the respondent. Whereas Central water &Power Research Station, Pune had published an advertisement in the Employment News dated 14-20 December 2002 for the posts of Craftsman 'C' (Carpenter) without providing reservation for the persons with disabilities in accordance with Sec. 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995.
Judgement: In view of the overall circumstances and the material available on record, the respondents are directed to reserve one vacancy in Group 'B' and 4 vacancies in Group 'C' identified posts e.g. Technician, Craftsman 'C' and Stenographer Grade-III for persons with disabilities and to issue advertisement/corrigendum to be framed for filling up of the vacancies reserved for PH category:
a) information regarding sub categories of disabilities e.g., whether the post is reserved for blind or low vision; hearing impaired; or locomotor disabled;
b) persons with disabilities having more than 40% disability are eligible for the post(s);
c) the number of posts against each category reserved for disabled;
d) age relaxation, relaxation of application fee and relaxation of eligibility criteria, if any.
The respondent shall workout the exact number of backlog vacancies in each Group and mode of requirement based on 100- point reservation register referred to above. If the number of reserved vacancies happens to be more than the number worked out in Para 5 of this Order, then the respondent shall fill up such vacancies against future vacancies at the earliest available opportunity.
The names and addresses of the appointed against the reserved posts to be submitted to this court within one month of their appointment.
8. Mr. Mohammed Asif Iqbal vs. Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata, Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD), and All India Council of Technical Education
Case No.: 2559/2003
Complaint: Mr. Mohammed Asif Iqbal, a visually handicapped and a graduate in Commerce, filed a complaint under Section 59 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 against IIM Kolkata. The complainant submitted that he appeared in Common Admission Test on December 9, 2001. He was not accepted into IIM, Kolkata. He did well in English and Mathematics but not on data interpretation portions. He met Chairman, Admissions, who explained that quota does not identify visual, deaf or orthopaedic handicap separately. He informed the Chairman, Admissions that visually impaired have more disadvantages over the other handicap groups. Orthopaedic or hearing impaired can see the graphs but visually impaired have to rely on the scribe. Complainant requested that IIMs should take initiative to recognize the value of teaching blind candidates and providing fair opportunities by softening or lowering their admission standards for people like him. He also suggested to set 1% seats aside for each handicap group which would serve their potential best.
Judgement: It was unanimously agreed that the guidelines/instructions on proposed lines should be framed and issued by Ministry of HRD. Ministry of HRD was advised to issue the guidelines so that these would be available to the prospective candidates of the forthcoming CAT etc. They may also supplement the proposed guidelines.
9. Mr. Amar Jain vs. University of Petroleum & Energy Studies
Case No.: 1/1031-5240
Complaint: Mr. Amar Jain, a person with visual impairment, filed his complaint through e-mail dated April 08, 2008, before the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities alleging that University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Dehradun is not allowing him to appear in the entrance examination for five years LLB Course on the ground of his disability.
Judgement: The case was disposed with following directions to the respondent:
Consider persons with disabilities on merit for admissions and extend them benefit of relaxations in age etc. as decided by UGC as well as provide appropriate interfaces to ensure level playing field to them.
Make appropriate amendments in the prospectus.
Submit action taken report within 60 days of receipt of the order.
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10. Mr. VP Singhania vs. Banking Division, Indian Banks' Association (IBA), and Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
Case No.: 2791/2003
Complaint: Mr. V.P.Singhania, a person with visual impairment filed a complaint on August 18, 2003, in the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. He is the President of National Federation of the Blind (Ghaziabad Unit) and is working as an officer in a nationalised bank. He submitted that visually challenged individuals, especially those, who can not sign, are not at all provided chequebooks by any bank. Lender financial institutions demand post-dated cheques signed by the borrowers in advance. This way they are not allowed to avail housing or other loan facilities. He suggested that banks should provide chequebooks to their blind account holders after verification/certification of Left Hand Thumb Impression (LHTI)/Right Hand Thumb Impression (RHTI) of such customers on each cheque leaf. All the cheque leaves may be crossed in favour of lending institution.
Judgement: Upon considering the written and oral submissions of IBA, RBI , Ministry of Finance (Banking Division) and the complainant, this court is of the firm opinion that visually impaired persons cannot be denied the facility of cheque book, locker, and ATM on the possibility of risk in operating/using the said facility, as the element of risk is involved in case of other customers as well. Some banks have allowed almost every banking facility to the visually impaired customers. If one bank can allow the facility to such customers, other banks can also do so. This court, therefore, advises Ministry of Finance, Banking Division and RBI to issue appropriate instructions to the following effect for implementation by all the banks within 45 days of receipt of this order:
Visually impaired persons be allowed to open an account with cheque book facility (cheques to be crossed at the time of issue) with an undertaking by the account holder that the cheque book be issued at his/her own risk. On the request of the account holder, the bank should issue the cheques in the name of the specified payee to make periodic payments for the retail loans, utility bills etc. At the time of issuing of cheque books, thumb impression of the account holder should be duly affixed and authenticated by the bank official.
For cash withdrawals, the visually impaired person should personally present himself/herself before the bank official who will facilitate filling up the cheque/withdrawal slips.
The facility of operating the lockers should also be allowed to the visually impaired account holders without insisting on the joint account, as this may not be possible for those who are single or whose spouse is also visually impaired and children are minor.
ATM facility should also be allowed on demand to the visually impaired customers as available to other customers. Banks should procure talking ATMs whenever they install new ones. Such an ATM machine has already been installed by a bank in Pune/Mumbai.
Banks should also ensure that the ATMs are accessible to other categories of persons with disabilities such as the wheel chair users.
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