SC appreciates Government’s “commitment” to fill posts reserved for the differently abled

SC appreciates Government’s “commitment” to fill posts reserved for the differently abled

Disposing of a contempt petition, a Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana reportedly praised the Union Government on Tuesday for its “commitment” and the “positive steps” taken by the Centre for filling up vacancies meant for differently-abled persons.

The Petition, filed by NGO National Federation of the Blind, had alleged willful disobedience of an order to provide three per cent quota to the differently abled. It hence demanded initiation of contempt proceedings against the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and its Secretary. The court was informed by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that the process of filling up of over 15,000 vacancies has begun and would conclude by February next year.

The Bench however refused to speculate on the issue of three percent quota for the differently abled in cases of promotions too. It refused to place reliance on a Bombay High Court judgment which had held that reservation must be provided in promotions as well. The Petitioners had claimed that the judgment had become final and the appeal and review filed against it had been rejected by the Supreme Court. Solicitor General on the other hand, had submitted that the quota was not permissible in the case of promotions and it has to be given "in fresh appointments" only.

Refusing to accept the Petitioner’s contention, the Court observed, “The SLP (special leave petition against HC order) was dismissed simplicitor. In the absence of any reason (for dismissal), we cannot speculate.”

Earlier in February, the Court had solicited Centre’s response regarding provision of three per cent quota in jobs to persons with disabilities. The NGO has also sought direction to the DoPT to ensure “strict and timely compliance” of court’s earlier order to restore a committee for undertaking a centralized special recruitment drive for doing away with the backlog reserved vacancies for these persons. The NGO went on to claim that other clauses, which were also to be amended to comply with the court’s directions, have not been changed, since most of the clauses relate to quantum of reservation and maintenance of roster. You may read the LiveLaw story here.

In September last year, an apex Court bench comprising of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton F Nariman ruled that three per cent reservation for differently-abled persons be provided in all categories of government jobs, including appointments and promotions to the IAS, while pulling up the Centre for ‘frustrating’ the very purpose of empowering legislation by opposing it.

The Court was ruling on the Centre’s petition, challenging Bombay High Court’s order, which had directed the Centre and the Union Public Service Commission to implement a three per cent quota in direct recruitments and promotions for the disabled in the IAS. You may read the LiveLaw story here.

The Delhi High Court had also ruled in favor of three per cent reservation for the disabled in the Higher Judicial Service by giving directions for reserving one of the advertised posts in the current recruitment process. Read the LiveLaw story here.