Under the Indian Law, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 covers persons suffering with disabilities in the form of low vision, blindness, mental illness, mental retardation, leprosy – cured, locomotor disability and hearing impairment. The Act does not cover people from backward classes.
The petitioners, Shri. Rajeev Kumar Gupta and seven other persons , suffering from disabilities and working as engineers with a government organization ‘ Prasar Bharati’, has filed this petition on the ground that they were being discriminated against in the matter of promotion to higher posts in the organization. The inability of the government to fill up the vacant Group A and B posts by the persons with disabilities was a blatant violation of the main objective and rationale of the reservation policy as stipulated under the Persons with Disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act. The refusal of the DoPT to allow the promotions to the disabled persons in Group A & B positions was a clear violation of Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, by citing the Apex courts nine-judge ruling in the Indra Sawhey case, providing that reservation ought to be given at the first stage and not at the time of promotions.
On July 2nd, 2016, Supreme Court of India finally sanctioned and passed 3% quota job reservation for disabled persons in all the posts under the Government of India wherein they can readily apply and get promoted to Group A and Group B posts except Group C and D posts. Earlier, Section 33 of the Person with Disabilities Act, 1995 also mentioned 3% reservation of job rights for differently-able people but didn’t implement it for promotions. On 30th June 2016, the bench mentioned that if a job position is considered to be suitable for Person with Disabilities in the form of capabilities and undertaking responsibilities, then the post will be mandatorily considered under 3% quota (for both direct and promotion rights of person with disabilities).
Earlier, the court’s verdict was argued by the government stating that there cannot be reservation in promotions referring to the Sawhey casein the year 1992. However, Supreme Court stated that people with disabilities cannot be mixed with people from backward classes. Hence in reference to Article 16 (1) of Constitution of India, it is compulsory to practice equality in government job opportunities. Witnessing a decreasing participation of Person with disabilities Supreme Court sanctioned the reservation quota with an objective to integrate and motivate Person with disabilities for economic progress. Moreover, it will add to the personal and professional growth of Person with disabilities as individuals. Although factors like historical neglect, social attitudes, culture, etc… can be common between Person with disabilities and backward classes yet they cannot be termed as equal.