Published On: Thu, May 3rd, 2018

HC orders 4% quota for disabled in court staff recruitment

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today held that though it is an autonomous institution, it should abide by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and provide an adequate quota for the disabled persons while recruiting judicial staff.

Bombay High Court today held that though it is an autonomous institution, it should abide by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and provide an adequate quota for the disabled persons while recruiting judicial staff.

A bench of Justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni directed the high court administration to keep 4 per cent of the posts vacant while recruiting over 8,000 administrative posts in the district courts.

Once the ongoing recruitment drive was complete, the administration should conduct a special drive to fill up 4 per cent posts under the Disabilities Act (which provides for a quota for the disabled persons), the judges said.

Last month, the bench had stayed the process for recruitment of stenographers, junior clerks and peons after it was pointed out that the high court administration had, while issuing advertisement, failed to reserve 4 per cent posts for the disabled.

The issue was raised by the National Federation of Blind and some individuals who filed petitions challenging the advertisement issued on March 28.

The advertisement sought applications for 1,013 posts of stenographers, 4,738 posts of junior clerks and 3,170 posts of peons in district courts.

It mentioned only a 2 per cent quota for persons with disabilities — one per cent for those with a hearing impairment and the rest for those having “one affected leg”.

Section 34 of the Disabilities Act mandates a 4 per cent quota, and the list of disabilities covered under the Act includes various locomotor disorders, visual handicap and intellectual disabilities.

Advocate Uday Warunjikar, petitioners’ lawyer, argued that by denying the rightful opportunity” to the persons with disabilities, the high court administration was defeating the purpose of the Central legislation.

The administration argued that even if the state and the Centre provide funds for the court, the high court is “independent” of the government, and therefore the Section 34 of the Act would not be applicable to it.

The high court disagreed with this contention.

Though the high court is a “constitutional and an autonomous authority subordinate to none”, its rules should be in “consonance with the philosophy of our Constitution”, it said.

The bench did not continue the stay to the recruitment drive since over 3.5 lakh applications have been received.

“A balanced solution is to be found. Therefore, the high court shall keep 4 per cent seats/posts vacant… and these seats shall be filled in through a special drive after suitable posts are identified,” the bench said.

PTI

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