Delhi High Court has directed the Central Government to identify the vacancies in the Physically Handicapped (PH) category which can be filled up by persons in Blind/Low Vision (B/LV) category.
The Division Bench of Justice Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh has given the authorities a period of 8 weeks to determine which posts in the Indian Revenue Service earmarked for PH category can be allocated for those with B/LV.
In the present case, the Petitioner had preferred an appeal against the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal which had held that the Department of Revenue is exempted from the duty prescribed under Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
Section 33 of the PWD Act putsa a duty on the government to appoint in every establishment such percentage of vacancies not less than three per cent for persons or class of persons with disability of which one per cent each shall be reserved for persons suffering from Blindness/Low Vision, Hearing Impairment, and Locomotor Disability.
While his arguing his claims, the Petitioner relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Government of India v. Ravi Prakash Gupta (2010) 2 SCC (L&S) 448 which held that the time of the allotment of services to successful candidates, seats in the disabled category remain vacant, then such 'backlog' seats must preferably be allotted to candidates in the same category.
He further contended that from the date of the coming into force of the PWD Act till the date of the allotment of the service to him, 12 vacancies of IRS (IT) and IRS (C & CE) had occurred and, that therefore, one vacancy in either service could easily have been allotted to him.
It was also submitted that there was no notification issued by the Central Government, in terms of the proviso to Section 33 of the PWD Act, exempting the CCA of the IRS (IT) and IRS (C & CE) from providing reservations to the PH category, in particular to persons in the B/LV category.
Department of Revenue, on the other hand, argued that that there is no vacancy in IRS (IT) and IRS (C & CE), and also that the Petitioner had assigned a lower preference to the aforesaid services vis-à-vis the IAAS. Therefore he could not be allocated to either of these services.
While ruling in favour of the Department, CAT had noted the following in its order:
'since all candidates selected by CSE, 2011 had been allocated the various services, completed their professional training, and confirmed at the respective services it merits serious consideration, any judicial intervention, at this stage, in the matter of allocation of Services of the selected candidates in CSE - 2011, would trigger tremendous amount of de-stability and upheaval.'
While analysing the arguments, the court noted that both the IRS (C & CE) as well as the IRS (IT), apart from recognising the B/LV category, also provide reservation for the 'Multiple Disabilities' category.
Moreover, the Department of Revenue was unable to dispute the fact of existing vacancies, including a huge backlog of vacancies in the PH category that remain to be filled. The court said:
'We're unable to find any justification by the Department for the failure to provide for reservations to the PH category from 1996 onwards.'
While going through the RTI replied of the said Department, the court also observed that there were indeed unfilled vacancies in the PH quota in
both the IRS (IT) and the IRS (C&CE), and that these ought to have been carried forward for at least two years.
Further, the fact remains that there was no
notification issued granting exemption to the Ministry of Revenue from the applicability of Section 33 of the PWD Act.
In light of these observations, the court issued following directions to the Department of Revenue: