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Visually impaired challenge lack of reservation in court recruitment

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 10:57 -- geeta.nair

MUMBAI: With nearly 9,000 posts of stenographers, peons and clerks advertised in district courts, the Bombay high courton Tuesday dwelt on a question raised by National Association of the Blind whether provisions of Disabilities Act applies to courts.
Maharashtra advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni whose assistance was sought by a bench of justices Naresh Patil and justice GS Kulkarni on the issue said that the “administrative side” of the court would be akin to "a state" to which The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 is applicable. The question, he said, is whether relief can be sought through a writ petition. Kumbhakoni said the question is whether the HC on the judicial side direct its administrative side to implement the Act.

NAB counsel Uday Warunjikar said that the recruitment which was advertised last month has not provided for “mandatory reservations” to persons with “blindness and low vision”. It only prescribed for 2% for persons with disabilities—one per cent for hearing impaired and one for persons having one leg affected. His case was that the law would apply even to recruitment for such court staff. Kumbhakoni said, “As of today there are no rules to allow what the petition wants."

The HC said, “their plea is simple. There exists a central disabilities act and there are rules framed by the Centre."
Meanwhile the HC on the administrative side, represented by Sudhir Talsania, said the act would not apply to it as it is not a government department.

The HC had on March 28 advertised 8921 posts which include 1013 posts of Stenographers, 4738 posts of Junior Clerk and 3170 posts for Peon in District Courts. The HC received over 3.5 lakh online applications so far.

The HC had on April 6 stayed the recruitment process. The relief was granted said the HC, “considering the nature of issues involved and to avoid any further complications and inconvenience to the applicants and for adopting a fair and transparent procedure." The AG on Tuesday said the process may continue and disabled may be taken into posts that fall vacant later.

The petition said the recruitment is based on the earlier Act of 1995 and not the updated 2016 avatar. It wants the HC to pass orders “to avoid multiple litigations, complications and inconvenience to the persons affected with disabilities."

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