The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the Karnataka Public Service Commission to provide details about how many candidates who appeared for the preliminary exams, on August 24, for the post of Gazetted probationers, were visually impaired and how many of them were provided with scribe facility and what were the qualifications of those scribes.
Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari appearing for the petitioner, The National Federation of the Blind, submmitted:
"As per earlier directions of the court ,20 minutes extra time per hour was provided. However, scribes issued (by KPSC) were severely problematic. Students who had given their scribe request in January-February, many of them due to the Covid situation, had different people as scribes, they were not not allowed to take those scribes. Many scribes provided by KPSC their qualifications were not as per Central Government guidelines."
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda directed the petitioners to file an additional affidavit showing instances of breach. It directed KPSC to deal with the same in the statement of objections which it is to file by September 28.
Advocate Reuben Jacob appearing for the KPSC informed the court that as per earlier directions of the court they have given 20 min per hour extra time and that scribe facility was also made available. To which the bench said "Firstly, you tell us what you did at the time of the exams. Secondly now assure the court that guidelines will be in conformity with law."
Jacob sought two weeks time to file the statement of objections as the concerned person after the exam conducted on August 24, has tested positive for Covid-19.
The bench allowed the request and posted the matter for further hearing on September 30.
The court on August 20, while refusing to postpone the examination, made it clear that the issue of legality of the examination will be considered subsequently. It had said "As examinations are scheduled to be held on August 24, we are not issuing any interim orders for postponement of the examination. We however, make it clear the issue of legality of the examination as regards to visually impaired candidates will have to be kept open."
The petition states that provisions under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act are not being complied with by the respondents. Moreover, the guidelines issued by the state government are not consistent with Central government guidelines issued on August 29, 2018, issued in pursuance to the Act.
The petition prays for directions to KPSC to grant additional time of 20 minutes per hour or at least one hour compensatory time to for candidates not availing the facility of scribe. KPSC to form a panel of scribes and give the option of either getting their own scribes or providing for a competent scribe from the panel.