Friday, June 23, 2017

DoPT Proposes to Revise Reservation Policy for Persons with Disabilities: seeks suggestions

Dear colleagues,

Ever since the enactment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, particularly after it was brought in to effect on 19th April, 2017, lot of concerns have been raised by the stakeholders, various High Courts and the Supreme Court of India as to how the existing policy framework will be tuned to the requirements of the new Act. The pace has been very slow warranting the courts to issue directives

After the new Act, several new disabilities have been added in to the list who could now claim rights of reservations in jobs and reasonable accommodations for them to be able to perform jobs on an equal basis with others. The DoPT, which is cadre controlling authority for central civil services and other allied services has put out a notice dated 20 June 2017 seeking suggestions on the comprehensive memorandum on implementing reservations for persons with disabilities.

The notification and the draft memorandum on the subject are pasted below in accessible format for general information. It can also be directly accessed in PDF format from the link: Notification seeking suggestions dt 20.06.2017

No.36035/02/2017-Estt (Res) 
Government of India 
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions 
Department of Personnel & Training

North Block, New Delhi
Dated : 20.06.2017

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Sub: Reservation for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities – Suggestions; if any, from all concerned including general public.

The undersigned is directed to enclose a copy of draft instructions bringing them in line with THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2016' with regard to reservation for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities in the posts/services Under the Central Government.

2. The issue of reservation in promotion for persons with Disabilities is sub-judice in various cases in the Hon’ble Supreme Court including Civil Appeal No.1567/2017 titled Siddaraju Vs State of. Karnataka & Ors and Review Petition (C) No.36/2017 tagged with it.

3.It is requested that the draft instructions may be examined and suggestions, if any, may be sent to this Department within 15 days of the issue of this Office Memorandum through e-mail only at q.sreenivasannic.in and debabrata.d13nic.in

(Raju Sarawat)
Under Secretary to the Govt.of India.
Tel No : 011-23040279
011-23093074

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No.36035/02/2017-Estt (Res) 
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 
MINISTRY OF PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES & PENSIONS 
DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL & TRAINING

North Block, New Delhi
Dated  the June,2017

DRAFT OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Subject: Reservation for the Persons with Benchmark Disabilities – reg.

With the notification of ‘THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2016’ on 28th December, 2016, which took effect from 19th day of April, 2017, the following instructions are issued in line with the provisions made in this Act regarding reservation for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities in the posts/services of the Central Government. Notwithstanding anything contained in the earlier instructions issued so far on the subject, the following instructions shall prevail in case of any contradiction with previous instructions issued so far.

2. QUANTUM OF RESERVATION

(i)  In case of direct recruitment, four per cent of the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts i.e A, B, C and D shall be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities of which, one per cent each shall be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses (a), (b) and (c) and one per cent, for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses (d) to (e), namely:-
  • blindness and low vision;
  • deaf and hard of hearing;
  • locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attacks victims and muscular dystrophy;
  • autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  • multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness, 

in the posts identified for each disabilities.

(ii)  In case of promotion, four per cent of total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts i.e Group D and C posts, in which the element of direct  recruitment if any, does not exceed 75%, shall be reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities of which one per cent each shall be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses (a), (b) and (c) and one  per cent, for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses (d) to (e), namely:-

  • blindness and low vision;
  • deaf and hard of hearing;
  • locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured,dwarfism, acid attacks victims and muscular dystrophy;
  • autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  • multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness,

in the posts identified for each disabilities.

3. EXEMPTION FROM RESERVATION:

If any Department/Ministry in the Central Government considers it necessary to exempt any establishment partly or fully from the provisions of reservation for persons with benchmark disabilities, it shall make a reference to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities giving full justification for the proposal, who having regard to the type of work carried out in any Government establishment by notification and subject to such condition, if any, as may be specified in the notification, in consultation with the Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) may exempt any Establishment from the provisions of reservation for persons with benchmark disabilities.

4. IDENTIFICATION OF JOBS /POSTS: The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment have identified the jobs/posts suitable to be held by persons with benchmark disabilities and the physical requirement for all such jobs/posts vide their Notification No.16-15/2010-DD-III dated 29th July, 2013. The jobs /posts given in Annexure C of the said notification to be amended from time to time shall be used to give effect to four per cent reservation to the persons with benchmark disabilities. It may, however, be noted that:


  • The nomenclature used for any job/ post shall mean and include nomenclature used for other comparable jobs/posts having identical functions.
  • The list of jobs/posts notified by the Department of Empowerment of. Persons with Disabilities is not exhaustive. The concerned Ministries/ Departments shall have the discretion to identify jobs / posts in addition to the jobs/ posts already identified by Department of Empowerment of Persons with -Disabilities. However, no Ministry/Department/Establishment shall exclude any identified job/post from the purview of reservation at its own discretion.
  • If a job/ post identified for persons with benchmark disabilities is shifted from one group or grade to another group or grade due to change in the pay-scale or otherwise, the job/ post shall remain identified.

5. RESERVATION IN POSTS IDENTIFIED FOR ONE OR TWO OR MORE CATEGORIES:

If a post is identified suitable only for one category of benchmark disability, reservation in that post shall be given to that category of persons with that benchmark disability only. Reservation of 4% shall not be reduced in such cases and total reservation in the post will be given to persons suffering from that benchmark disability for which it has been identified. Likewise in case the post is identified suitable for two or more categories of benchmark disabilities, —reservation shall be distributed between persons with those categories of benchmark disabilities equally, as far as possible. It shall, however, be ensured that reservation in different posts in the establishment is distributed in such a way that the persons of all categories of benchmark disabilities, as far as possible, get representation to the posts identified for them.

6. APPOINTMENT AGAINST UNRESERVED VACANCIES:

In the posts which are identified suitable for persons with disabilities, a person with disability cannot be denied the right to compete for appointment against an unreserved vacancy, Thus a person with disability can be appointed against an unreserved vacancy, provided the post is identified suitable for persons with disability of the relevant category.

7. ADJUSTMENT OF CANDIDATES SELECTED ON THEIR OWN MERIT:

In the posts which are identified suitable for persons with benchmark disabilities, a person with benchmark disability cannot be denied the right to compete for appointment against an unreserved vacancy. Thus a person with benchmark disability can be appointed against an unreserved vacancy, provided the post is identified suitable for persons with benchmark disability of the relevant category.

Persons with benchmark disabilities selected on their own merit without relaxed standards along with other candidates, will not be adjusted against the reserved share of vacancies. The reserved vacancies will be filled up separately from amongst the eligible candidates with benchmark disabilities which will thus comprise persons with benchmark disability candidates who are lower in merit than the last candidate in merit list but otherwise found suitable for appointment, if necessary, by relaxed standards. It will apply in case of direct recruitment as well as promotion, wherever reservation for persons with benchmark disabilities is admissible.

8. SPECIFIED DISABILITY:

Following are the specified disabilities for the purpose of applicability of reservation for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities:

1. Physical disability:-

A. Visual impairment-

(a) “blindness” means a condition where a person has any of the following conditions, after best correction-
(i)   total absence of sight; or
(ii)  visual acuity le.ss than 3/60 or less than 10/200 (Suellen} in the better eye with best possible correction; or
(iii)    limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of less than 10 degree,
(b) “low-vision” means a condition where a person has any of the following conditions, namely:-
(i)  visual acuity not exceeding 6/18 or less than 20/60 upto 3/60 or upto 10/200 (Snellen) in the better eye with best possible corrections; or
(ii)    limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of less than 40 degree up to 10 degree.
B. Hearing impairment-

  • “deaf” means persons having 70 DB hearing loss in speech frequencies in both ears;
  • “hard of hearing” means person having 60 DB to 70 DB hearing loss in speech frequencies in both ears;


C. Locomotor disability (a person’s inability to execute distinctive activities associated with movement of self and objects resulting from affliction of musculoskeletal or nervous system or both), including-

(a) “leprosy cured person” means a person who has been cured of leprosy but is suffering from-
(i) loss of sensation in hands or feet as well as loss of sensation and paresis in the eye and eye-lid but with no manifest deformity;
(ii) manifest deformity and paresis but having sufficient mobility in their hands and feet to enable them to engage in normal economic activity;
(iii) extreme physical deformity as well as advanced age which prevents him/her from undertaking any gainful occupation,and the expression “leprosy cured” shall construed accordingly;
(b) “cerebral palsy” means a Group of non-progressive neurological condition affecting body movements and muscle coordination, caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring before, during or shortly after birth;

(c) “dwarfism” means a medical or genetic condition resulting in an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches (147 centimeters) or less;

(d) “muscular dystrophy” means a group of hereditary genetic muscle disease that weakens the muscles that move the human body and persons with multiple dystrophy have incorrect and missing information in their genes, which prevents them from making the proteins they need for healthy muscles. It is characterised by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue;

(e)  “acid attack victims”  means a person disfigured due to violent assaults by throwing of acid or similar corrosive substance.

D. Intellectual disability, a condition characterised by significant limitation both in intellectual functioning (rasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behaviour which covers a range of every day, social and practical skills, including-

(a) “specific learning disabilities” means a heterogeneous group of  conditions wherein there is a deficit in processing language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself as a difficulty to comprehend, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations and includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and developmental aphasia;

(b)”autism spectrum disorder” means a neuro-developmental condition typically appearing in the first three years of life that significantly affects a person’s ability to communicate, understand relationships and relate to others, and is frequently associated with unusual or stereotypical rituals or behaviours.

Mental behaviour-
“mental illness” means a substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs judgment,behaviour, capacity to recognise reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life, but does not include retardation which is a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person, specially characterised by subnormality of intelligence.

E. Multiple Disabilities (more than one of the above specified disabilities) including deaf blindness which means a condition in which a person may have combination of hearing and visual impairments causing severe communication, developmental, and educational problems.

9. DEGREE OF DISABILITY FOR RESERVATION: Only “person with benchmark disability” would be eligible for reservation in posts/services with not less than forty per cent of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority. A person who wants to avail of benefit of reservation will have to submit a Disability Certificate issued by a Competent Authority.

10. Application for disability certificate

(1) Any person with specified disability may apply in FORM–I for a disability certificate either online through Unique Disability Identity Portal (www.swavlambancard.gov.in) or submit the physical application to –
(a) a medical authority or any other notified competent authority to  issue such a certificate in the district of the applicant’s residence as mentioned in the proof of residence in the application; or
(b) the concerned medical authority in a government hospital where he may be undergoing or may have undergone treatment in connection with his disability:
Provided that where a person with disability is a minor or suffering from intellectual disability or any other disability which renders him unfit or unable to make such an application himself, the application on his behalf may be made by his legal guardian.

(2) The application shall be accompanied by-

  • proof of residence;
  • two recent passport size photographs; and
  • aadhar number or aadhar enrolment number, if any
  • No other proof of residence shall be required from the applicant who has aadhar enrolment number.


11. Issue of disability certificate

(i)   On receipt of an online application as mentioned above, the medical authority shall, verify the information as provided by the applicant and shall assess the disability in terms of the relevant guidelines issued by the Central Government and after satisfying himself that the applicant is a person with disability, issue a disability certificate in his favour through the UDID portal.

Provided that the State Governments or UT Administration shall continue to issue certificate of disability manually for a period of six months.

(ii)For applications other than online mode, the medical authority shall ensure that application is converted to the online mode and shall follow the same procedure as mentioned above for issuing of disability certificate.

(iii) The disability certificate shall be issued within a month from the date of receipt of the application by the medical authority.

(iv) The medical authority shall, after due examination –
(a) Issue a permanent disability certificate in cases where there are  no chances of variation over time in the degree of disability; or
(b) give a temporary disability certificate and indicate the period  of validity in the certificate, in cases where there is any chance of variation over time in the degree of disability.
(v) If an applicant is found ineligible for issue of disability certificate, the medical authority shall convey the reasons to him in writing under FORM–II within a period of one month from the date of receipt of the application.

12. At the time of initial appointment and promotion against a vacancy reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities, the appointing authority shall ensure that the candidate is eligible to get the benefit of reservation.

13. COMPUTATION OF RESERVATION:

Reservation for persons with benchmark disabilities in case of Group C and Group D posts shall- be computed on the basis of total number of vacancies occurring in all Group C or Group D posts, as the case may be, in the establishment, although the recruitment of the persons with disabilities would only be in the posts identified suitable for them. The number of vacancies to be reserved for the persons with disabilities in case of direct recruitment to Group ‘C’ posts in an establishment shall be computed by taking into account the total number of vacancies arising in Group ‘C’ posts for being filled by direct recruitment in a recruitment year both in the identified and non-identified posts under the establishment. The same procedure shall apply for Group ‘D` posts. Similarly, all vacancies in promotion quota shall be taken into account while computing reservation in promotion in Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ posts. Since reservation is limited to identified posts only and number of vacancies reserved is computed on the basis of total vacancies (in identified posts as well as unidentified posts), it is possible that number of persons appointed by reservation in an identified post may exceed four per cent.

14. Reservation for persons with benchmark disabilities in Group ‘A’ or Group ‘B’ posts shall be computed on the basis of total number of vacancies occurring in direct recruitment quota in the cadre in all the Group A posts or Group ‘B’ posts respectively, and the computation of total vacancies shall include vacancies arising in the identified and non-identified posts.

15 EFFECTING RESERVATION – MAINTENANCE OF ROSTERS:

(a) Every Government establishment shall maintain separate 100 point vacancy based reservation roster registers in the format given in Annexure A for determining/effecting reservation for the Persons with Benchmark Disabilities – one each for Group ‘A’ posts filled by direct recruitment, Group ‘B’ posts filled by direct recruitment, Group ‘C’ posts filled by direct recruitment, Group ‘C’ posts filled by promotion, Group ‘D’ posts filled by direct recruitment and Group ‘D’ posts filled by promotion.

(b) Each register shall have cycles of 100 points and each cycle of 100 points shall be divided into four blocks, comprising the following points:
1st Block – point No.1 to point No.25
2nd Block – point No. 26 to point No.50
3rd Block – point No.51 to point No. 75
4th Block – point No.76 to point No.100
(c) Points 1, 26, 51. and 76 of the roster shall be earmarked reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities – one point for each of the four categories of disabilities. The Head of the establishment shall ensure that vacancies identified at SI. No.1, 26, 51 and 76 are earmarked for the respective categories of the persons with benchmark disabilities. However, the Head of the establishment shall decide the placement of the selected candidate in the roster register.

(d) All the vacancies in Group C posts falling in direct recruitment quota arising in the establishment shall be entered in the relevant roster register. If the vacancy falling at point no. 1 is not identified for the Person with Benchmark Disability or the Head of the establishment considers it desirable not to fill it up by Persons with Benchmark Disabilities a disabled person or it is not possible to fill up that post by the Persons with Benchmark Disabilities for any other reason, one of the vacancies falling at any of the points from 2 to 25 shall be treated as reserved for the disabled and filled as such.

Likewise, a vacancy falling at any of the points from 26 to 50 or from 51 to 75 or from 76 to 100 shall have to be filled by the Persons with Benchmark Disabilities. The purpose of keeping points 1, 26, 51 and 76 as reserved is to fill up the first available suitable vacancy from 1 to 25, first available suitable vacancy from 26 to 50, first available suitable vacancy from 51 to 75 and first available suitable vacancy from 76 to 100 by persons with benchmark disabilities.

(e)There is a possibility that none of the vacancies from 1 to 25 is suitable for any category of the Person with Disability. In that case two vacancies from 26 to 50 shall be filled as reserved for persons with disabilities. If the vacancies from 26 to 50 are also not suitable for any category, three vacancies shall be filled as reserved from the third block containing points from 51 to 75. This means that if no vacancy can be reserved in a particular block, it shall be carried over into the next block

(f)After all the 100 points of the roster are covered, a fresh cycle of 100 points shall start.

(g) If the number of vacancies in a year is such as to cover only one block (say 25 vacancies) or two (say 50 vacancies), the category of the disabled should be accommodated as per the roster points. However, in case the said vacancy is not identified for the respective category, the Head of the establishment shall decide the category on the basis of the nature of the post, the level of representation of the specific disabled category in the concerned grade/post etc.

(h)A separate roster shall be maintained for group C posts – one for the posts filled by direct recruitment and another for posts filled by promotion. Likewise, two separate rosters shall be maintained for Group D posts.

(I) Reservation for persons with disabilities in Group ‘A’ or Group ‘B’ posts shall be computed on the basis of total number of vacancies occurring in direct recruitment quota in all the Group ‘A’ posts or Group ‘B’ posts respectively, and the computation of total vacancies shall include vacancies arising in the identified and non-identified posts in the cadre. Separate rosters for Group ‘A’ posts and Group ‘B’ posts in the establishment shall be maintained.”

16. INTER SE EXCHANGE AND CARRY FORWARD OF RESERVATION IN CASE OF DIRECT RECRUITMENT:

(a) Reservation for each of the categories of persons with benchmark disabilities identified for reservation shall be made separately. If the nature of vacancies in an establishment is such that a given category of person cannot be employed, the vacancies may be interchanged among the categories identified for reservation. However, the Head of the establishment shall ensure that the reasons for interchange may be recorded in writing before effecting the same.

(b)Where tn any recruitment year any vacancy cannot be filled up due to non availability of a suitable person with benchmark disability or for any other sufficient reasons, such vacancy shall be carried forward in the succeeding recruitment year and if in the succeeding recruitment year also suitable person with benchmark disability is not available, it may first be filled by interchange among the identified categories for reservation purpose and only when there is no person with disability available for the post in that year, the ’employer shall fill up the vacancy by appointment of a person, other than a person with disability. The Government establishment shall interchange vacancies only if due process of recruitment to fill up the vacancies meant for persons with benchmark disabilities has been complied with.

(c) If any vacancy reserved for any category of benchmark disability cannot be filled due to non-availability of a suitable person with that benchmark disability or, for any other sufficient reason, such vacancy shall be carried forward as a ‘backlog reserved vacancy’ to the subsequent recruitment year.

In the subsequent recruitment year the ‘backlog reserved vacancy’ shall be treated as reserved for the category of disability for which it was kept reserved in the initial year of recruitment. However, if a suitable person with that benchmark disability is not available, it may be filled by interchange among the categories of benchmark disabilities identified for reservation. In case no suitable person with benchmark disability is available for filling up the vacancy in the succeeding year also, the employer may fill up the vacancy by a person other than a person with benchmark disability. If the vacancy is filled by a person with benchmark disability of the category for which it was reserved or by a person of other category of benchmark disability by inter se exchange in the subsequent recruitment year, it will be treated to have been filled by reservation. But if the vacancy is filled by a person other than a person with benchmark disability in the subsequent recruitment year, reservation shall be carried forward for a further period upto two recruitment years whereafter the reservation shall lapse. In these two subsequent years, if situation so arises, the procedure for filling up the reserved vacancy shall be the same as followed in the first subsequent recruitment year.

17. In order to ensure that cases of lapse of reservation are kept to the minimum, any recruitment of the disabled candidates shall first be counted against the additional quota brought forward from previous years, if any, in their chronological order. If candidates are not available for all the vacancies, the older carried forward reservation would be filled first and the current vacancies would be carried forward if not filled up.

18. CONSIDERATION ZONE, INTERSE EXCHANGE AND CARRY FORWARD OF RESERVATION IN CASE OF PROMOTION

(a)  While filling up the reserved vacancies in Group C or Group D by promotion by selection, if any, the candidates with benchmark disabilities, who are within the normal zone of consideration, shall be considered for promotion. Where adequate numbers of the candidates with benchmark disabilities of the appropriate category of disability are not available within the normal zone, the zone of consideration may be extended to five times the number of vacancies and the candidates with Benchmark disabilities falling within the extended zone may be considered. In the event of non-availability of candidates even in the extended zone, the reservation can be exchanged so that vacancy can be filled by a person with other category of benchmark disability, if possible. If it is not possible to fill up the post by reservation, the vacancy in the post may be filled by a person other than a Person with Benchmark disability and the reservation shall be carried forward for upto three subsequent recruitment years, whereafter it shall lapse.

(b) In posts filled by promotion by non-selection in Group C or Group D, the eligible candidates with benchmark disabilities shall be considered for promotion against the reserved vacancies and in case no eligible candidate of the appropriate category of disability is available, the vacancy can be exchanged with other categories of benchmark disabilities identified for it. If it is not possible to fill up the post by reservation even by exchange, the reservation shall be carried forward for upto three subsequent recruitment years, whereafter it shall lapse.

19. HORIZONTALITY OF RESERVATION FOR PERSONS WITH BENCHMARK DISABILITIES:

Reservation for backward classes of citizens (SCs, STs and OBCs) is called vertical reservation and the reservation for categories such as persons with benchmark disabilities and ex-servicemen is called horizontal reservation. Horizontal reservation cuts across vertical reservation (in what is called interlocking reservation) and persons selected against the quota for persons with benchmark disabilities have to be placed in the appropriate category viz. SC/ST/OBC/General candidates depending upon the category to which they belong in the roster meant for reservation of SCs/STs/OBCs. To illustrate, if in a given year there are two vacancies reserved for the persons with benchmark disabilities and out of two persons with benchmark disabilities appointed, one belongs to a Scheduled Caste and the other to general category, then the benchmark disabilities SC candidate shall be adjusted against the SC point in the reservation roster and the general candidate with benchmark disability against unreserved point in the relevant reservation roster. In case none of the vacancies falls on point reserved for the SCs, the benchmark disability candidate belonging to SC shall be adjusted in future against the next available vacancy reserved for SCs.

20. Since the persons with benchmark disabilities have to be placed in the appropriate category viz. SC/ST/OBC/General in the roster meant for reservation of SCs/STs/OBCs, the application form for the post should require the candidates applying under the quota reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities to indicate whether they belong to SC/ST/OBC or General category.

21. RELAXATION IN AGE LIMIT:

(i)  Upper age limit for persons with benchmark disabilities shall be relaxable (a) by ten years (15 years for SCs/STs and 13 years for OBCs) in case of direct recruitment to Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ posts; (b) by 5 years (10 years for SCs/STs and 8 years for OBCs) in case of direct recruitment to Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ posts where recruitment is made otherwise than through open competitive examination; and (c) by 10 years (15 years for SCs/STs and 13 years for OBCs) in case of direct recruitment to Group A and Group B posts through open competitive examination.

(ii)  Relaxation in age limit shall be applicable irrespective of the fact whether the post is reserved or not, provided the post is identified suitable for persons with benchmark disabilities.

22. RELAXATION OF STANDARD OF SUITABILITY:

If sufficient number of person with benchmark disabilities candidates is not available on the basis of the general standard to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, candidates belonging to this category may be selected on relaxed standard to fill up the remaining vacancies reserved for them provided they are not found unfit for such post or posts. Thus, to the extent the number of vacancies reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities cannot be filled on the basis of general standards, candidates belonging to this category may be taken by relaxing the standards to make up the deficiency in the reserved quota subject, to the fitness of these candidates for appointment to the post/posts in question.

23. MEDICAL EXAMINATION:

As per Rule 10 of the Fundamental Rules, every new entrant to Government Service on initial appointment is required to produce a medical certificate of fitness issued by a competent authority. In case of medical examination of a person with benchmark disabilities for appointment to a post identified as suitable to be held by a person suffering from a particular kind of disability, the concerned Medical Officer or Board shall be informed beforehand that the post is identified suitable to be held by persons with benchmark disabilities of the relevant category and the candidate shall then be examined medically keeping this fact in view.

24. EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF EXAMINATION FEE AND APPLICATION FEE:

Persons with benchmark disabilities shall be exempted from payment of application fee and examination fee, prescribed in respect of competitive examinations held by the Staff Selection Commission, the Union Public Service Commission etc. for recruitment to various posts. This exemption shall be available only to such persons who would otherwise be eligible for appointment to the post on the basis of standards of medical fitness prescribed for that post (including any concession specifically extended to the persons with benchmark disabilities) and who enclose disability certificate from a competent authority with the application form in support of their claim of disability.

25. NOTICE OF VACANCIES:

In order to ensure that persons with benchmark disabilities get a fair opportunity in consideration for appointment to a vacancy in an identified post, the following points shall be kept in view while sending the requisition notice to the SSC, the UPSC etc. and while advertising the vacancies:-

(i) Number of vacancies reserved for SC/ST/OBC/Ex-servicemen/Persons with Benchmark Disabilities should be indicated clearly. As regards Persons with Benchmark Disabilities, the vacancies shall be further reported separately for the following four categories of benchmark disabilities.

First category

  • blindness and low vision;

Second category.

  • deaf and hard of hearing;

Third category


  • locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured,
  • dwarfism, acid attacks victims and muscular dystrophy;

Fourth category


  • autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  • multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness,

in the posts identified for each disabilities.

(ii)      In case of vacancies in posts identified suitable to be held by persons with benchmark disabilities, it shall be indicated that the post is identified for: –

First category

  • blindness and low vision;

Second category

  • deaf and hard of hearing;

Third category

  • locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attacks victims and muscular dystrophy;

Fourth category

  • autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  • multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness,

in the posts identified for each disabilities, as the case may be, and that the persons with benchmark disabilities belonging to the category/categories for which the vacancy in the post is identified shall be allowed to apply even if no vacancies are reserved for them. Such candidates will be considered for selection for appointment to the post by general standards of merit, if the post identified suitable for them.

(iii) In case of vacancies in posts identified suitable for persons with benchmark disabilities, irrespective of whether any vacancies are reserved or not, the categories of disabilities viz

  • blindness and low vision;
  • deaf and hard of hearing;
  • locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attacks victims and muscular dystrophy;
  • autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  • multiple disability from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness,

for which the post is identified suitable alongwith functional classification and physical requirements for performing the duties attached to the post shall be indicated clearly.

(iv) It shall also be indicated that the above-mentioned four categories of persons with benchmark disabilities shall alone be eligible for the benefit of reservation under the category of persons with benchmark disabilities. Persons with benchmark disabilities means a person with not less than forty percent of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority.

26. Notification of vacancies to the Special Employment Exchange:–

(i) The following vacancies shall be notified by the establishments to the special employment exchange namely:-
(a) vacancies in posts of a technical and scientific nature carrying a basic pay in Level 6 or more per month occurring in Central Government establishments; and
(b)  vacancies which the employer of the Central Government establishment may circulate to the special employment exchange outside the State or Union territory in which the establishment is situated, as may be notified in the Official Gazette.

(ii) The Government establishment shall send the copy of the notification of vacancies to the concerned Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for persons with disabilities.

(iii) The vacancies other than those specified in sub-rule (1) shall be notified to the local special employment exchange concerned and the Government establishment shall send a copy of the notification of vacancies to the concerned Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for persons with disabilities.

27. Form and manner of notification of vacancies to the Special Employment Exchange:-

(1) The Government establishment shall notify the vacancies in writing to the concerned special employment exchange, and furnish the following particulars in respect of each type of vacancy, namely:-

(a) Name and address of the employer;

(b) Telephone number of the employer;

(c)   Nature of vacancy, namely;-

(i)  Designation of workers required;
(ii)  Description of duties
(iii)   Physical requirements for the job, namely, visual accuracy, frequent movement or walking, continuous long hours sitting and other physical requirements;
(iv)  Qualification requirements, namely:-
i. essential;
ii. desirable;
(v)   Age limit, if any;
(vi)  Whether women are eligible?
(d)  number of vacancies reserved for persons with disabilities, that is, persons with physical, visual, hearing, intellectual and mental illness-
(i)  regular;
(ii) temporary;

(e)   pay and allowances;

(f)  place of work, that is, name of town and village and district in which it is situated;

(g)  probable date by which the vacancy will be filled;

(h)  particulars regarding interview/test of applicants, namely;-
(i)   date of interview or test;
(ii) time of interview or test;
(iii) place of interview or test;
(iv) designation and address of the person to whom applicants should report;
(v) any other relevant information,
(2) The appropriate Government shall re-notify the vacancies to the concerned special employment exchange, if there is any change in the particulars already furnished to the special employment exchange and vocational rehabilitation centre for persons with disabilities under this rules.

28. Time limit for the notification of vacancies:–

(i) The vacancies, required to be notified to the local special employment exchange, shall be notified at least thirty days before the date on which the applicants are to be interviewed or tested, where interview or test held, or the date on which vacancies are intended to be filled, if no interview or test is held.

(ii) An employer of the Government establishment shall furnish to the concerned special employment exchange, the result of the selection within fifteen days from the date of selection.

29. Submission of Returns:–

(i) An employer of the Government establishment shall furnish to the local special employment exchange returns once in every three months in Form PDER-I and once in every two months in Form PDER­- II.

(ii) The return shall be furnished within thirty days of the respective dates that is, 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December.

(iii)The two months return shall be furnished within thirty days of the due date as may be notified by the appropriate Government in the Official

30. Form in which record to kept by en employer:–

Every employer of the Government establishment shall maintain the record of employees with disabilities in Form PDER III.

31.CERTIFICATE BY REQUISITIONING AUTHORITY:

In order to ensure proper implementation of the provisions of reservation for persons with benchmark disabilities, the requisitioning authority while sending the requisition to the UPSC, SSC etc. for filling up of posts shall furnish the following certificate to the recruiting agency:-

“It is certified that the requirements of the THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2016′ on 28th December, 2016, which took effect from 19th day of April, 2017 and the policy relating to reservation for persons with benchmark disabilities has been taken care of while sending this requisition. The vacancies reported in this requisition fall at points no  of cycle no  of 100 point reservation roster out of which  number of vacancies are reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities.”

32. ANNUAL REPORTS REGARDING REPRESENTATION OF PERSONS WITH BENCHMARK DISABILITIES:

(i) The Ministries/Departments shall continue to upload data on representation of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities along with data on SCs, STs, OBCs in respect of posts/services under the Central Government on the URL i.e, rrcps.nic.in as on 1st January of every year. All Ministries/Departments have been provided respective usercocle and password with guidelines for operating the URL.

(ii)Soon after the 1st January of every year, each appointing authority shall send on-line data relating to Persons with Disabilities along with SCs, STs and OBCs to its administrative Ministry/Department, which shall scrutinize the information received from all appointing authorities under it and upload the same on the URL. Ministry/Department shall consolidate information in respect of all attached and subordinate offices under its administrative control and submit the same through the URL to the Department of Personnel and Training immediately. The hardcopy of data uploaded on the URL need not to be sent to Department of Personnel and Training.

(iii)The following points may be kept in view while uploading the data on the URL:-
(a) The data sent to the DOPT should not include information in respect of public sector undertakings, statutory, semi-Government and autonomous bodies. Statutory, semi-Government and autonomous bodies which shall furnish consolidated information to the administrative Ministry/Department concerned, who may scrutinize, monitor and maintain it at their own level.
(b) The attached/subordinate offices shall send data to their administrative Ministry/Department only through the URL and shall not send it directly to the DOPT.
(c)The figures in respect of Persons with benchmark Disabilities shall include persons appointed by reservation as well as appointed otherwise.
(d)The data relates to persons and not to posts. Therefore, while furnishing data, the posts lying vacant etc. should not be taken into Persons on deputation should be included in the establishment of the borrowing Ministry/Department/Office and not in the parent establishment. Persons permanent in one grade but officiating or holding temporary appointment in the higher grade shall be included in the figures relating to the Class of service to which the higher grade belongs.

33. Grievance Redressal Mechanism:

(1) Every Government establishment shall appoint one or more Grievance Redressal Officer not below the rank of a Gazetted Officer:

Provided that where it is not possible to appoint any Gazetted Officer, an officer of reasonable seniority shall be appointed as a Grievance Redressal Officer.

(2)The grievance redressal officer shall maintain a register of complaints and soft copy specifically maintained for the purpose and separate page shall be allotted for each complaint.

(3)The grievance redressal officer shall record the following particulars in the register, namely:-

  • date of complaint;
  • name of complainant;
  • name of the person who is enquiring the complaint;
  • place of incident;
  • the name of the establishment or person against whom the complaint is made;
  • gist of the complaint;
  • any additional information;
  • documentary evidence, if any;
  • date of disposal of by the grievance redressal officer;
  • details of disposal of the appeal by the district level committee; and
  • any other information.

34. LIAISON OFFICER FOR PERSONS WITH BENCHMARK DISABILITIES:

Liaison Officers appointed to look after reservation matters for SCs/STs shall also work as Liaison Officers for reservation matters relating to persons with benchmark disabilities and shall ensure compliance of these instructions.

35. All the Ministries/Departments are requested to bring the above instructions to the notice of all appointing authorities under their control.

Sd/-
(G. Srinivasan)
Deputy Secretary to the Govt. of India
Ph.No.23093074

 (i) All Ministries/Departments of the Govt. Of India.

(ii) Department of Financial Service, Ministry of Finance, Jeevan Deep Building, Parliament Street, New Delhi.

(iii)Department of Public Enterprises, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

(iv) Railway Board, Rail Bhavan, Delhi.

(v)Union Public Service Commission/Supreme Court of India/ Election Commission of     India/     Lok   Sabha      Secretariat/     Rajya     Sabha Secretariat/Cabinet Secretariat/Central Vigilance Commission/President’s Secretariat/ Prime Minister’s Office/Planning Commission.

(vi) Staff Selection Commission, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi.

(vii)Office of the Chief Commissioner for Disabilities, Sarojini House, 6, Bhagwan Das Road,New Delhi – 110001

(viii) Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, 10, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi.

(ix) All Officers and Sections in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and all attached/subordinate offices of this Ministry.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What constitutes "appropriate education" for students with Autism in public schools- US Supreme Court to consider

Dear Colleagues,

The origins of this potentially lank mark case stretch back to 2010 when the parents of a child with autism in Douglas County of USA had to withdraw their child from "Summit View Elementary" -  a public school  after the child (now 17) began to exhibit severe behavioral issues, including banging his head, dropping to the floor, disrobing and running away from school. The parents having been convinced the school wasn’t doing enough to help their son with autism progress academically, pulled the child out of Summit View and enrolled him in Firefly Autism, a Denver school that specializes in working with autistic children.

The parents have argued in the petition they submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court late last year that the intent of the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was to provide a meaningful education to disabled students, not simply a “just-above-trivial” benefit. They noted that federal judges from several circuits across the country have issued conflicting rulings over the years on what is the "appropriate standard" to be used to assess the proper level of educational benefit a disabled student should get. The petition of the parents argues that this case presents an ideal vehicle for this Court to resolve the circuit split and provide lower courts with guidance in applying the IDEA.

It is pertinent to note that the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t spoken on the issue since the 1982 Board of Education Versus Rowley ruling, when it affirmed that IDEA guaranteed disabled students access to the public school classroom but didn’t address the quality of that education.

Even in India, we have been facing this issue of what is 'appropriate education' for children with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While the government schools in India are woefully ill-equipped in absence of trained educators, lack of teaching learning material in the schools given the large number of students. The situation is equally grim in the private schools as well who charge a considerable amount in the name of tuition fee and other counts, however, have made the education of disabled children an affair to be managed by Shadow Teachers (paid by parents). In the name of inclusion, children do remain in the school but there is hardly an effort to include them in the classroom or the learning outcomes. Children with disabilities are also not included in play or extra-curricular activities. This is surely not inclusion. This is a clear violation of the spirit of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 and in particular Section 30 of the Act.

Entire world will be watching this case with great curiosity as to what Supreme Court of USA decides. But one thing is sure, Supreme Court had made up its mind to speak its mind on the issue and likely to grant Certiorari to the parents. This case is truly about equal opportunity for the special needs children that the law requires. And this is likely to help realize inclusive education as enshrined in the IDEA.

Brief about IDEA 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a four-part (A-D) piece of American legislation that ensures students with a disability are provided with Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that is tailored to their individual needs. IDEA was previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) from 1975 to 1990. In 1990, the United States Congress reauthorized EHA and changed the title to IDEA (Public Law No. 94-142). Overall, the goal of IDEA is to provide children with disabilities the same opportunity for education as those students who do not have a disability.

IDEA is composed of four parts, the main two being part A and part B.[1] Part A covers the general provisions of the law, Part B covers assistance for education of all children with disabilities, Part C covers infants and toddlers with disabilities which includes children from birth to age three, and Part D is the national support programs administered at the federal level. Each part of the law has remained largely the same since the original enactment in 1975.

In practice, IDEA is composed of six main elements that illuminate its main points. These six elements are: Individualized Education Program (IEP), Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), Appropriate Evaluation, Parent and Teacher Participation, and Procedural Safeguards. To go along with those six main elements there are also a few other important components that tie into IDEA: Confidentiality of Information, Transition Services, and Discipline. Throughout the years of IDEA being reauthorized these components have become key concepts when learning about IDEA.

Here is the coverage in Denver on the issue

U.S. Supreme Court will hear Douglas County student with disabilities case
Origins of potentially landmark case stretch back to 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday that it will hear a potentially groundbreaking case brought by a Douglas County couple who claim that their autistic son was not provided an adequate education in the public school system as required by federal law.

The high court’s ruling on the case, which likely wouldn’t come down until next year, could have substantial implications for students with disabilities across the country in terms of the standard school districts will be required to meet when providing instruction and services. At issue is whether schools must provide an education equal to other students.

The family, whose last name is not used in court documents, told The Denver Post on Thursday that they were “shell-shocked and giddy” about the decision by the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to their case, which has dragged on for half a dozen years.

“It’s about equal opportunity for special-needs kids that the law requires,” said Joe F., father of Endrew F., whose name anchors the Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District case file. “If we can change any families’ lives, that’s our goal.”

The district released a statement on the high court’s decision late Thursday.

“It would be inappropriate to discuss the specifics of the case while it is still being litigated, but the Court’s decision today is not a decision on the merits, and we look forward to addressing the issues before the Court,” district spokeswoman Paula Hans said.

The roots of the case go back to 2010, when the Highlands Ranch couple pulled Endrew, now 17, out of Summit View Elementary after he began to exhibit severe behavioral issues, including banging his head, dropping to the floor, disrobing and running away from school. Convinced the school wasn’t doing enough to help their son progress academically, the couple pulled him out of Summit View and enrolled him in Firefly Autism, a Denver school that specializes in working with autistic children.
“If he was able to show up to school and say ‘good morning,’ that was good enough for them,” Joe F. said of the Douglas County School District. “They weren’t moving his education forward.”

The family has asked that their last name not be used.

The parents, who said their son has made progress in his learning since attending Firefly, asked the district to reimburse them for the tuition they paid for Endrew’s private schooling. They claimed that the Douglas County School District did not do enough to provide their son with a “free appropriate public education” as required by the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

But an administrative law judge, a federal judge and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed the district, claiming in separate rulings that the federal statute only requires that schools provide students with “some educational benefit,” a standard they determined Douglas County had met with Endrew.

The family argued in the petition they submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court late last year that the intent of the IDEA was to provide a meaningful education to disabled students, not simply a “just-above-trivial” benefit. They noted that federal judges from several circuits across the country have issued conflicting rulings over the years on what is the appropriate standard to be used to assess the proper level of educational benefit a disabled student should get.

“This case presents an ideal vehicle for this Court to resolve the circuit split and provide lower courts with guidance in applying the IDEA,” their petition argued.

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t spoken on the issue since the 1982 Board of Education v. Rowley ruling, when it affirmed that IDEA guaranteed disabled students access to the public school classroom but didn’t address the quality of that education.

The family received a boost last month when the Office of the Solicitor General filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take up the case. It said that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had set the bar — a standard of “merely … more than de minimis” educational benefit — too low.

“No parent or educator in America would say that a child has received an ‘appropriate’ or a ‘specially suitable’ or ‘proper’ education ‘in the circumstances’ when all the child has received are benefits that are barely more than trivial,” the solicitor general’s office wrote.

But Kathleen Sullivan, chief counsel for the Colorado Association of School Boards, said it would be better for Congress to clarify its statutes than for the court to impose an order. A uniform standard handed down by the Supreme Court would prove “disruptive” to what is today an individually tailored analysis and decision between educators, parents and students, she said.

“The disruption is in shoving aside more than 30 years of case law that we have in helping us understand what the IDEA means for students,” Sullivan said. “I think we would see a wave of litigation to define and apply that new standard.”

The district, in a brief it filed earlier this month urging the Supreme Court not to take up the case, argued that in passing the IDEA, Congress guaranteed access to public education for students with disabilities but did not specify what the level of that education should be.

“Thus, for over 30 years, this Court has held that if a State provides a program ‘reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits,’ then it ‘has complied with the obligations imposed by Congress and the courts can require no more,’ ” the brief argued.

But Jack Robinson, an attorney for Endrew F.’s family, said one of the IDEA’s stated goals is readying a student with disabilities for the workforce or independent living, something that can’t be achieved with a minimal education offering.

“There has to be a more heightened and robust standard than a little more than nothing,” Robinson said. “This case has the potential of recognizing that children with disabilities have a right to a substantive education.”

Source : Denverpost 

Note: This post is also reproduced on blog "Disability Rights Through Courts

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Structural Changes in Govt. Schools with NGOs on Board to ensure disabled children actually learn

Dear colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier post titled 'Delhi Govt. focuses on students with disabilities in Govt. Schools- thanks to Working Groups with NGOs'. Here is an updated report on the project by Shreya Roy Chowdhury of TNN, wherein the 6 working groups have moved ahead on many areas and the Delhi Govt. is hoping that through these interventions, the children with disabilities enrolled in govt. schools will actually learn:


Shreya Roy Chowdhury | TNN | Updated: Sep 22, 2016, 12.04 AM IST

New Delhi: Through a number of interventions, Delhi government is hoping to ensure that disabled children in its schools actually learn. Taking disability-sector NGOs on board, the Directorate of Education has established six working groups to address different aspects of education for such kids—teacher training, aids and resources, even "structural changes" in the administration. "Disability mapping" is on the cards and on September 15, the government issued a list of 14 schools in different school districts where accessible "resource centres" will be built.

There are about 20,000 'children with special needs' or CWSN in Delhi government schools. The Right to Education Act's insistence on inclusivity and accessibility has increased enrollment but activists argue the system is not up to scratch. Now, even the government agrees. The minutes of a June 2016 meeting organised by the government with NGOs says, "The issue of mismatch of expertise of Special Education Teachers (SETs) and needs of CWSN was raised. Disability mapping of CWSN should be the first step." The meeting was attended by directorate officials and representatives of many organisations.

"The special educators are single-disability trained. We have offered to train in cross-disability and inclusive education so that they can help children and teachers," says G Syamala of Action for Ability Development and Inclusion.

The DoE's meeting minutes explain that each working group will include two NGOs (or institutes) and one department official. One will work exclusively on learning disabilities — help identify children who have them, "finalize...tools for assessment of learning disabilities", "provide lucid instructions for...teachers", "prepare training module for assessment of these children."

Another will develop teaching aids. There'll be a central resource library in every zone — 29 libraries distributed over 13 school districts. These will serve as repositories of resources for special educators, teachers, parents and the kids themselves. The All India Confederation of the Blind has offered to work with the Delhi Bureau of Text Books to producing Braille and large-print texts.

Members also agreed on developing "zonal resource centres" — essentially one school in a zone capable of extra support — for children "with severe disability." This, however, doesn't mean more 'special' schools — fundamentally contrary to the idea of inclusion. "Recipient[s] of these services (CWSN) will study in their schools" and the centres will offer "specialized services". Major changes to the administration are also being considered including creation of special posts to implement programmes and monitor.

The AICB president AK Mittal has sent the DoE a list of other suggestions including "orientation and mobility" training for the visually challenged, "expanded core curriculum activities" for disabled children and "school-mapping for the placement of special educators."


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Delhi Govt. focuses on students with disabilites in Govt. Schools- thanks to Working Groups with NGOs.

Dear Colleagues,

Delhi Govt's decision to form working groups in association with NGOs has resulted in some renewed focus on the learning outcomes of students with disabilities studying in various govt and aided schools in Delhi. I call it a step in right direction by the Kejriwal Govt. which has been experimenting several programs to ensure that students with disabilities were truly included in schools. Its Department of Education (DoE) had formed 7 working groups in association with leading NGOs working on inclusive education to address the issue of quality education for all in Govt. Schools. 

This constructive & participatory process assures all of us that things are going in right direction despite initial hiccups and several challenges. The special educators have been asked to prepare IEP (Individualized Education Program) for each child with disability with short term and long term goals to be reviewed periodically. The teachers are also given flexibility to review & modify the module. The support of multi-disciplinary team like therapists, counselors,  educators etc is also being proposed to be made available.

The challenges that still remain is many schools do not have required number of special educators. Class Teachers also need to be trained and involved in the child's learning and the responsibility shouldn't be just shifted to the special educators completely. This would not result in true inclusion.  Parents also have a larger role in child's development & should be involved in supplementing IEP at home. But this is also a challenge as many of them are working and do not have time to support children's education.

However, I am sure the working groups with the support of expert NGOs would take this challenge further and take this program of inclusion to a gradual success. I would be very keenly following this experiment on inclusive & quality education with measurable learning outcomes of children with disabilities (children with special needs)  in Govt. schools. This experiment deserves accolades and is worth emulating in rest of Indian states given its participatory approach with a focus on inclusion!

Here is the Tribune Report on the same.

Special education programme for the disabled in govt schools

Every disabled child studying in Delhi Government run and aided schools will now get personal attention with the AAP government asking special educators to prepare an individualised education programme (IEP).

"Special educators placed in government run and aided schools have been asked to prepare an individualised education programme for every disabled child in their care. The IEP will include instructions on the teaching procedure as well," a senior official of the Directorate of Education (DoE) said.

There are around disabled 20,000 children enrolled in government schools at present.

"We have asked the special education teachers to prepare the IEP of each child with special needs (CWSN) within 15 days, the format of which should cover everything from basic requirements to extra-curricular activities.

"Teachers will have the liberty to modify any particular child's module as per requirements. The educators will not only record the type of special need but also associated conditions, languages spoken and referral to other services -in case the child needs services such as physiotherapy," the official said.

After identifying the problems, the educators will set both short-term and long-term goals for each child.

DoE officials had recently formed seven working groups in association with various NGOs working for children with special needs.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Are meritorious candidates with disabilities adjusted against disability quota against the spirit of Section 33?

Dear Colleagues,

The govt. departments, who should be complying with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act 1995 have been flouting these very provisions under different garbs. This is not a new phenomenon. I remember in April 2005, I had challenged on behalf of All India Confederation of the Blind an advertisement of Govt. of NCT of Delhi and UPSC for filling up 90 posts of Principals without giving 3% reservation for persons with disabilities. In the counter filed by the Delhi Govt. it was suggested that they will adjust all persons with disabilities against reserved quota even if they cleared on their own merit. The Hon'ble Court presided by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat then had given a categorical judgement saying this could not be allowed and issued rule. The Delhi Govt. even went in appeal through LPA No.2042, 2043 and 2044/2005, however, on 21 Dec 2005 vide a common judgement, the double bench headed by the Hon'ble Chief Justice and Justice Madam B Lokur dismissed the said appeals upholding that Article 46 of the Constitution provides that the State shall promote the interests of weaker sections and weaker section would include not just SCs and STs but also persons with disabilities. The court had dismissed the LPAs with directions that a candidate with disabilities who has qualified in the selection and whose merit is so high that if he were a general category candidate he would still have been selected, then his appointment will not be made against the quota of persons with disabilities. Such a candidate would be treated as if in the general category and the reserved seats of the disabled category will be calculated excluding him or be filled up accordingly.

In fact, this fact has been repeatedly held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court that concessions to help / enable a candidate appear in examinations cannot be termed as “reservation benefits“ if she/he qualifies on merit. [PGI Medical Education and Research V. K.L. Narasimham, (1997) 6 SCC 283]

The trend of subverting the laws against the marginalized section continues to be pushed by many employing departments rendering the minimum reservations as maximum reservations. As simple as age relaxations, fee relaxations, lower threshold of qualifying marks and additionally in case of disabled candidates - using a scribe or availing compensatory time during examination is being used as the basis to classify them as "reserved candidates". Using a scribe or compensatory time or fee/ age /qualifying marks relaxation can at best be considered as enabling provisions. These provisions can not be used to push them in to the "reservation quota" thereby defeating the original intent of such beneficial legislation.

The National Commission for SCs is examining this issue and has issued notice to UPSC, DoPT etc. on receipt of complaints from the stakeholders. The Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities have not taken any suo moto notice of several such cases happening right under their nose. This is an alarming situation where the statutory bodies are lagging behind in restoring justice to the most marginalized and to protect their rights and equal participation in the spirit of the law.