Unfortunate That Such Persons Are Compelled To File Petitions: Delhi HC Directs Kendriya Vidyalaya To Provide Reservation To Hearing Impaired & Disabled Persons
The Delhi High Court has directed Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to provide reservation of 1% and 4% to hearing-impaired persons and disabled persons respectively in job vacancies. The Court that it is unfortunate that disabled persons are being compelled to file writ petitions and are being compelled to run from pillar to post by an organization like KVS.
In this case, a writ petition was registered as a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) based upon a letter of the National Association of Deaf (NAD) through its President being aggrieved by the advertisements issued by KVS inviting applications for various posts.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula observed, “It is unfortunate that disabled persons are being compelled to file writ petitions and are being compelled to run from pillar to post by an organization like KVS. They are not claiming any charity, and they are claiming their rights as guaranteed to them under the RPwD Act. The legislature has laid down a noble vision of providing “reasonable accommodation” to persons with disabilities so as to ensure that all possible special measures are adopted to enable the PwDs to perform to the best of their ability. Despite so, instead of creating such reasonable accommodation, the respondent has looked down upon the PwDs from the lens of inconvenience.”
The Bench held that the KVS has violated the statutory provisions as contained under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPwD Act) and that the advertisements in question, on such count alone, deserve to be quashed.
Senior Advocate (Amicus Curiae) Dayan Krishnan and Advocate Sarah Sunny appeared for the petitioners while CGSC Kirtiman Singh and Advocate S Rajappa appeared for the respondents.
Factual Background -
The petition challenged the advertisements issued by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) inviting applications for various posts of Principal, Vice-Principal, Post-Graduate Teacher (PGT), Trained Graduate Teacher (TGT), Librarian, Primary Teacher (Music), Finance Officer, as well as other posts. The NAD in its letter had stated that the advertisements issued by KVS were violative of statutory provisions as contained under the RPwD Act. The letter further stated that Section 17 of the RPWD Act mandates for employing teachers, including teachers with disabilities; and Section 34 mandates 4% reservation for Persons with Disabilities (PwD), out of which 1% posts are reserved for deaf and hard of hearing persons.
Section 2(f) recognizes sign language under the definition of “communication” and Section 16 requires barrier free involvement and provision of reasonable accommodation in educational institutions. The contention of the Association was that the KVS ignored the statutory provisions as contained under the RPwD Act. The undisputed facts of the case were that the KVS issued advertisement for direct recruitment of Officers, Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff in the KVS and for direct recruitment of Primary Teachers in KVS vide advertisements in the newspaper as well as on the official website.
The High Court in the above regard noted, “Once again, we have before us some of our fellow citizens who have been trying to secure equal and dignified treatment in the eyes of the State and on the other side, a department oblivious to its constitutional duties despite a clear expression by the legislature and clearer expression by various constitutional Courts, including the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.”
The Court said that the KVS has assumed a power which never vested in it and the task of identification as well as of exemption of posts falls in the domain of the appropriate government.
“In the considered opinion of this Court, if the process of recruitment is already over, the KVS – in respect of the identified posts, shall provide 1% reservation against the total vacancies notified vide the impugned advertisements to deaf and hard of hearing persons, and shall initiate a drive of special recruitment for filling up the vacancies reserved for various categories of disabled persons, including 1% identified persons who are deaf and hard of hearing”, ordered the Court.
Furthermore, the Court reiterated that the reservation must be calculated on the total number of vacancies and ultimate appointment shall take place on the posts identified in the 2021 notification.
“The exercise of issuing a fresh advertisement for disabled category of total 4% of posts in the entire organization be concluded within a period of three months from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order”, also directed the Court.
Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the petition.
Cause Title- Court on its own Motion v. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:7914-DB)