The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Centre to examine how people with disabilities can be put under different categories in civil services. A bench of justices S A Nazeer and V Ramasubramanian said sympathy for disability is one aspect but the practicality of the decision has also to be taken into account.
The top court shared an incident where a person in Chennai with 100 per cent blindness was appointed as civil judge junior division and the court interpreters got all orders signed by him and was later posted as editor of a Tamil journal. "You please examine. They may not fit into all categories. Sympathy is one aspect, practicality is another aspect," the bench observed.
At the outset, Attorney General R Venkatramani, appearing for the Centre, submitted that the government was looking into the matter and sought time. The court said it would hear the matter after eight weeks. The apex court had on 25 March permitted people with disabilities to apply for the Indian Police Service (IPS), DANIPS and the Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS) provisionally as their preferences in the civil services and asked them to submit their application forms in this regard to the UPSC by 1 April.
It had passed the order while hearing a plea by the 'National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled' challenging the Centre's 18 August 2021 notification on the ground that it has granted a "blanket exemption" to all categories of posts under the IPS, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Police Service (DANIPS) and IRPFS from the purview of reservation required to be provided thereunder.
The plea filed in the apex court has said no information is available in the public domain to be able to discern the rationale for the grant of blanket exemption by the notification. "It is submitted that the impugned notification granting blanket exemption to all posts in the IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS is unconstitutional, contrary to the statute, and is legally unsustainable for the following reasons: exclusion of PwDs (persons with disabilities) from occupying even administrative and other non-combat posts in the IPS, DANIPS AND IRPFS by way of the impugned notification is manifestly arbitrary," it had claimed.
The petition had sought quashing of the notification insofar as it grants a blanket exemption from the grant of reservation to the PwDs in the IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS. It also sought direction from the Department of Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities to reserve suitable posts for PwDs in the IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS.