The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, dropped contempt charges against the M.P. Housing and Development Board on a plea alleging that it was not providing reservation in promotions to the disabled.
The Bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R. Banumathi was hearing a Petition filed by one Mr. Achintya Deb Dasgupta against the State of Madhya Pradesh, implicating the Housing and Environment Department, the General Administration Department, Department of Industries and Employment, M.P. Housing and Development Board and State Department of Commerce, Industries and Employment.
The Petition has alleged willful disobedience of the Court's directions in the case of Union of India and Anr. v. National Federation of the Blind & Ors., wherein the Court had ruled that reservation for the disabled needs to be observed by the public as well as private sector and had directed, "The appellant herein shall issue instructions to all the departments/public sector undertakings/Government companies declaring that the non observance of the scheme of reservation for persons with disabilities should be considered as an act of non-obedience and Nodal Officer in department/public sector undertakings/Government companies, responsible for the proper strict implementation of reservation for person with disabilities, be departmentally proceeded against for the default."
The question now posed before the Court was whether reservation under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1955 would be available in cases of promotion as well.
Attorney General Mr. K.K. Venugopal had submitted that the judgment does not specifically contemplate reservation in promotions for disabled persons.
The Court then noted that it had, in another judgment in the case of Rajeev Kumar Gupta and others vs. Union of India and others, ruled that the quota under the Act needs to be provided regardless of whether the posts are filled by direct recruitment or promotion. It, however, found that this decision had been referred to a larger Bench in order to decide whether the reservation as an exception to Article 16 of the Constitution of India can be provided to disabled persons, apart from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidate for whom a specific provision has been made in the Constitution of India.
In view of this information, the Court kept the issue of contempt under abeyance and also dropped the charges against the M.P. Housing and Development Board in view of submissions made by it.
The Court, however, sought a response from the other Respondents, asking them to elaborate on their obligation, if any, to provide such reservation in view of the decision in Rajeev Kumar Gupta's case.
"This may appear to be extending the contours of the contempt petition. However, such extension, in our considered view, is necessary to give effect to the decision of this court in Union of India vs. National Federation of the Blind and others3 and further expounded in Rajeev Kumar Gupta (supra)," it clarified.
The matter has now been listed on 31 January, 2018.