Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has laid down in M.E.Mohamed Musaf Raseen v. State of Tamil Nadu that denying the employment opportunity on the ground of deviation in the visual standard, citing a new rule, which is not at all referred to in the employment notification, is arbitrary and illegal.
The petitioner had challenged the order dated 14.03.2019 passed by the Additional Director General of Police, State Crime Records Bureau (fifth respondent in the case), whereby the name of the petitioner was deleted from the provisional list selected for the post of Sub-Inspector of Police (Finger Print) 2018, due to lack of eye vision.
Single judge bench of Madras High Court had earlier in similar circumstances with facts on similar lines held that "it is settled law that a physical defect or deformity, which in no way interferes with the normal or efficient functioning, should not be considered as an absolute bar to public employment in regard to the posts not associated with physical activity."
Petitioners had therein challenged the orders on similar lines.
Single judge bench of Justice J. Nisha Banu, in this case, said that decision in that case applies squarely to the present case and decided the present case accordingly while allowing the petition.
Petitioners in the abovementioned case were disqualified for appointment to the post in the question, even though they had successfully passed in the tests conducted by the respondents, on the ground that they do not possess the required visual standard. Court had said that it is of the view that if such defect does not come in the way of their normal functioning and can be corrected, the petitioners should not be treated as medically unfit for the post in question.
Court had observed:
"Now-a days, the technology has developed well and gone beyond our imagination. Time is not far off to see the planets and Mars through lens from this world. The eye vision pointed out by the respondents can easily be cured by the petitioners by various scientific methods. Hence, denying the employment opportunity to the petitioners on the ground of deviation in the visual standard, citing a new rule, which is not at all referred to in the notification, is arbitrary and illegal."
Court had observed further that courts will not interfere with the standards fixed by an authority to ascertain medical fitness of a person for employment. But the Courts will interfere with an arbitrary prohibition to appointment in absolute terms merely on a physical defect or deformity, which is not shown to have any effect on the normal and efficient functioning of the person in the post and it can be corrected. It had said that there can be no doubt that different standards of fitness may be required for different types of posts. But what is required is mental alertness and mental capability and physical fitness, which will ensure efficient discharge of his functions. So long as the defect or deformity can be corrected and it has no effect on the efficient and normal functioning of the person, the defect by itself cannot be a ground to disentitle him for being considered for that post, it had noted.
"It is to be pointed out at this juncture that either to formulate or enforce a policy not to consider any candidate for employment irrespective of the fact whether he is medically unfit or fit, is nothing but short of arbitrariness and shows a baseless prejudice against such candidate. No authority can formulate a policy relating to appointment with such arbitrariness."
Considering the pitiable situation of the petitioners, the Court had accordingly set aside the impugned orders saying it cannot be sustained in the eyes of law. It had directed the respondents to consider the candidatures of the petitioners for appointment to the post of Sub-Inspector of Police (Technical) and (Finger Print) 2018, if they are otherwise found eligible.
It had further directed the respondents to include any such conditions as are prescribed under the relevant Rules and the Government orders at the time of issuing notification itself in future, so that, this type of causing hurdles to the candidates, who applied on the fond hope that they will get appointment, may not arise.
Single judge bench in the present case asked for same directions while allowing writ petition of the petitioner in the present case and decided the case as per the decision of the single judge bench of the Madras High Court in the case on exactly similar lines.
Petitioner in the present case was represented by advocate P. R. Prithiviraj and respondents by C.M. Mari Chelliah Prabhu.
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