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Calcutta HC Requires Colour Blind Land Owner To Be Employed Suitably By Acquiring Authority [Read Judgment]

Mehal Jain
22 April 2020 2:13 PM GMT
Calcutta HC Requires Colour Blind Land Owner To Be Employed Suitably By Acquiring Authority [Read Judgment]
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday declared that a member of a family whose land has been acquired with an assurance of providing an employment over and above the financial compensation, cannot be denied any employment in the organisation on the ground of his suffering from colour blindness.

The case of the petitioner was that he belongs to a family of land loser inasmuch as 2.03 acres of land in the district of Burdwan had been acquired by Coal India Limited. The petitioner was nominated by the members of the family for employment at Eastern Coalfields Limited, which is a subsidiary of CIL, under the land losers scheme. He was called for an interview and his employment under the concerned scheme in a Group-D post at the ECL had been duly approved. However, the Medical Board had declared him unfit as he was suffering from colour blindness. The eye specialist to whom he was referred was also the same opinion. The petitioner made a representation for a re-medical examination by the Apex Medical Board, but the representation was not responded to.

"It is far too obvious that land which a family offers for the purposes of colliery, particularly for the sort of work for which the plots of land in the instant case were taken, could not be the best and modern plots from the locational point of view. For very obvious reasons they are generally away from the roads and consequently the market value will be much lesser than those lands with positive locational advantageous", observed the High Court.

"Must a person whose land has been taken and who has been suffering from colour blindness be satisfied with the market value of lands with such disadvantageous location?", questioned Justice Sambuddha Chakrabarti.

The Court proceeded to observed that If the policy decision of the CIL under its Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy really required that a land loser will only have to work in the underground mines, only then there might not have been any occasion for exploring any other possibility. But there being no such indication in the policy decision it is definitely necessary to consider the possibility of an employment on the surface level.

"The Director (Personnel) of the respondent company was asked to take a humane approach considering that the family had given the land on a definite assurance that a member of the family would get an employment and at the time of taking of the land it was never indicated that such nominated member will have to work in the underground mine", reads the judgment.

The Court further expressed that If there had been any scheme requiring the petitioner to be appointed only in an underground mine there might not have been any occasion for considering any other employment for the petitioner. "Since that is not the case here it will be unjust, inequitable and improper for the Court to compel the petitioner to be satisfied with the market value of the lands in question, particularly in view of what have been discussed above and the methods by which the respondents wanted to obstruct his employment", held the bench.

Reliance was placed on the 1995 Supreme Court judgment in Nand Kumar Narayanrao Ghodmare Vs. State of Maharashtra and Others, where also the respondents did not offer any appointment to the appellant for his suffering from colour blindness. The Apex Court after a finding that out of 35 posts in the concerned department only five posts required perfect vision without colour blindness, directed the government to consider the case of the appellant to any of the posts in the concerned department except those five posts.

Following the same principle the High Court directed "the respondents to consider the case of the petitioner for appointment to any post, subject to his qualification and fulfilling the other eligibility criteria, in any department of the respondents where working in the underground will not be necessary and his vision deficiency will not be a bar". It is also clarified that Such decision is to be taken within 30 days from the date of the communication of the order.

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[Read Judgment]

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