SC slams Govt for apathy towards handicapped
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 22, 2010, 20:18
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has castigated the government for its insensitivity towards physically challenged persons and expressed anguish at the way in which a paralytic woman was denied employment in the Railways for 21 years even after she was selected.

A Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Ashok Kumar Ganguly, while directing forthwith appointment of the candidate Pritilata Nanda of Orissa, asked the Centre to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the woman.

"The respondent (candidate), who suffers from paralysis of lower limbs, has become a victim of constitutionally flawed approach adopted by the officers of South Eastern Railway and has been deprived of her legitimate right to be appointed on a Class III post," the apex court said.

The apex court passed the direction while dismissing the Centre's appeal challenging an Orissa High Court direction which had on August 5, 2008, asked the Railways to appoint Nanda to a Class III post with back wages.

The Bench noted that though over the decades several legislations had been enacted by Parliament and state legislatures for the welfare of physically challenged persons in tune with constitutional provisions of Chapter IV, the same has not been translated into actions.

"In the last about six decades, Parliament and state legislatures have enacted several laws for giving effect to the provisions contained in Part IV of the Constitution but implementation of these legislations has been extremely tardy and intended beneficiaries of such legislations have to struggle hard and, at times, seek intervention of the court for getting their dues," the bench said.

The apex court rejected the argument of the Centre that even though Nanda had cleared the exams and viva voce she was not entitled to appointment as she was not sponsored by any employment exchange.

"The requirement of notifying the vacancies to the employment exchange is embodied in the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959 (for short, 'the 1959 Act') but there is nothing in the Act which obligates the employer to appoint only those who are sponsored by the employment exchange.

"We also agree with the High Court that once the candidature of the respondent was accepted by the concerned authorities and she was allowed to participate in the process of selection i.e., written test and viva voce, it was not open to them to turn around and question her entitlement to be considered for appointment as per her placement in the merit list on the specious ground that her name had not been sponsored by the employment exchange," the Bench said.


First Published: Thursday, July 22, 2010, 20:18

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