Cannot Direct State To Treat Differently Abled Under Visually Impaired Category On Par With Those Incapable Of Any Employment: Madras HC
The Madras High Court has observed that it cannot direct the state to treat differently-abled persons under visually impaired category on par with differently abled persons who are incapable of any employment.
"…we are of the view that we cannot direct the Respondents to treat all the Differently Abled Persons under Visually Impaired category on par with Differently Abled Persons who are incapable of any employment.", the Bench of Acting Chief Justice M.Duraiswamy and Justice Sunder Mohan observed.
The Court made this observation while dealing with a writ petition by Nethrodaya Organization seeking directions to Department of Social Welfare to handover the administration of Differently Abled Pensions Scheme to the State. The Petitioner further sought directions to State to enhance the maintenance allowance from Rs.1000/- to Rs.1500/- per month to the visually challenged beneficiaries on par with other disabled beneficiaries.
Advocate A.M. Venkatakrishnan appeared for the petitioner organization whereas Additional Advocate General S.Silambannan appeared for the State.
The Petitioner alleged that since the Pension Scheme falls under the Social Welfare Department, which is administered through the Revenue Department, several hardships are caused to the Differently Abled Persons. The grievance of the Petitioner is that the Social Welfare Department is not acting fairly.
The Court directed the State to ensure that no hardship is caused to the Differently Abled Persons for getting the benefits under the Monthly Pension Scheme.
"It is made clear that the Differently Abled Persons shall not be put to sufferings merely because the Monthly Pension Scheme is administered by the Social Welfare Department. Therefore, the Respondents shall ensure that no hardship is caused to the Differently Abled Persons and unnecessary formalities are not insisted upon to claim the benefits under the Scheme.", the Court held.
The Court further observed that the Differently Abled Visually Impaired Persons cannot be equated with Differently Abled Persons who are ineligible to get any employment on account of the sickness and infirmity suffered by them.
"It is also not in dispute that the Differently Abled Persons, who are visually impaired, are entitled to public employment and private employment as well. Therefore, the Differently Abled Visually Impaired Persons cannot be equated with Differently Abled Persons who are ineligible to get any employment on account of the sickness and infirmity suffered by them. The basis adopted by the Respondents to treat them differently cannot be faulted.", the Court observed.
However, as the counsel for the Petitioner submitted that certain persons who are visually impaired are also ineligible for employment on account of other sickness, infirmity and old age, the Court directed the State to consider the request of those persons to treat them on par with other Differently Abled Persons who are getting the monthly maintenance allowance.
Cause Title- Nethrodaya v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.