MP Judicial Service | Supreme Court Allows Candidates With Disabilities To Attend Interview If They've Got Minimum Marks Prescribed For SC/ST Categories

Update: 2024-05-21 10:09 GMT
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The Supreme Court (today on May 21) resumed its hearing in a suo motu matter regarding a rule in the State of Madhya Pradesh that excludes visually impaired and no-vision candidates from seeking appointment to judicial services. As an interim relief, the Bench of Justices P.S. Narasimha and Sanjay Karol passed an order that the candidates of various disabilities who appeared for the...

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The Supreme Court (today on May 21) resumed its hearing in a suo motu matter regarding a rule in the State of Madhya Pradesh that excludes visually impaired and no-vision candidates from seeking appointment to judicial services.

As an interim relief, the Bench of Justices P.S. Narasimha and Sanjay Karol passed an order that the candidates of various disabilities who appeared for the final examination will be allowed to appear for an interview if they have secured minimum marks as provided for the SC/ST candidates.

It may be recalled that the Court took suo motu cognizance of a letter sent to CJI DY Chandrachud by the mother of one of the visually impaired candidates against such exclusion.

Converting the letter petition into a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, the CJI-led Bench had issued notice to the Secretary General of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the State of Madhya Pradesh, and the Union of India.

Previously, the Court had also noted that noted that the Civil Judge Class-II examination conducted in 2022 did not include reservation slots for visually impaired participants, a move that significantly contradicts the principles laid out in the 2016 Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. Considering that the main exam was scheduled to be held on 30 and 31 March 2024, the bench had also issued a slew of interim measures. The same can be read here.

Following this, when the matter was listed today, Senior Advocate Mr Gaurav Agarwal, Amicus Curiae in the matter, apprised the Bench that after the Court passed the aforementioned order, 31 candidates were allowed to appear. However, none of the candidates have secured the minimum marks to appear for the interview. The amicus also expressed the difficulty of not having a separate cut-off for persons with disabilities.

Based on this, Justice Narasimha posed whether, in such cases, there could be separate reservations. He elaborated by saying that “there can always be some quote for women. For sports there can be some quota. What is wrong (with this category)?”

In view of these circumstances, the Court indicated that this issue about provisioning reservations, separately for these categories, will have to be heard for the purpose of laying down the law. Nevertheless, as an interim measure and to take its previous order to a logical end, the Court passed the following order:

In furtherance of our order dated March 21st, we are informed that 31 candidates, of various disabilities, have appeared in the main examination. It is submitted that none of them were called for an interview either on the ground of eligibility or for not securing minimum marks....we direct that if any of these 31 candidates have secured minimum marks as provided for the reserved candidates (SC/ST), they shall, as an interim measure, be called for an interview. This direction is subject to the final outcome of the proceedings.”

Notably, before parting, Justice Narasimha stated that every selection process in our country gets into litigation. He continued, “Another thing is, what kind of an enthusiasm of anybody selecting persons will have….candidates going there will have no hope…you just understand that process becomes suspect and there is absolute uncertainty…our judicial services are suffering. There is not a single HC that has successfully conducted a selection process without a litigation. Even before you commence it, litigation starts."

The Supreme Court, in its 2021 judgment in the case Vikash Kumar vs. Union Public Service Commission (authored by Justice Chandrachud, as he was then), overruled an earlier precedent which excluded candidates with more than 50% visual or hearing disability from judicial service.

Case Title: IN RE RECRUITMENT OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED IN JUDICIAL SERVICES SMW(C) No. 2/2024

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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