Chennai: Criticising the contents of a counter affidavit filed by the then Education Secretary over appointments of physically challenged persons as lecturers, the Madras High Court today said it was an "improper and insensitive" affidavit seeking to treat visually-impaired candidates as not normal persons.
"To say the least, it is an improper and insensitive affidavit filed seeking to treat visually-impaired candidates as not normal persons", the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh, said on a PIL by Tamil Nadu Teachers Association for Visually Challenged persons, challenging exclusion of visually-impaired candidates from appointments of lecturers in various teachers education, research and training institutes.
The Association submitted that they were aggrieved by Clause 7 of the prospectus issued by Teachers Recruitment Board for recruitment of lecturers in various teachers training institutes through an advertisement on October 6, 2009, excluding visually-impaired persons from appointments.
The PIL challenged the Act stating it is violation of Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) as it requires reservation of 1 per cent of the total vacancies for the post of Lecturers for visually- impaired candidates.
The justification given for excluding visually-impaired candidates was that the lecturers are required to evaluate the performance of teacher trainees while taking classes and observation sessions by facial expression, body language and method of language expression and these activities could be "successfully performed by normal persons only".
"These are only excuses to evade and not implementing the provisions of the Protection of Rights and Full Participation Act, 1995, which expresses legislative intent", the bench said.
"We, thus, strongly condemn the contents of the affidavit affirmed by a senior officer being Secretary to Government, School Education Department then, D Sabitha", the bench said and directed her to be present in the court when the next hearing would be held on April 1.
"We cannot leave the matter as it is in view of the nature of affidavit filed by the officer and thus, we call upon the authorities through the current Secretary to School Education Department to file an affidavit explaining how many vacancies exist from the beginning as per roster, how many reserved for visually-impaired and how many have been filled up", the bench said.