State Disability Commissioner Exceeded His Jurisdiction By Directing Appointment Of Candidate To State Civil Services: Kerala HC
While allowing the Kerala Public Service Commission’s writ petition challenging the State Disability Commissioner’s Order directing the appointment of a candidate to the post of Legal Assistant Grade-II in the Government Secretariat's Law Department, the Kerala High Court held that the Commissioner has power only to advise and make recommendations to appropriate authorities in terms of Sections 80 to 83 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
While referring to the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, the Single Judge Bench of Justice N. Nagaresh clarified that "State Disability Commissioner cannot make an adjudication on a service matter and direct appointment of a person to civil services of the Central Government or the State Government".
Advocate P.C. Sasidharan appeared for the Petitioner, whereas, Government Pleader Anima M. and Advocate P.G Jayashankar appeared for the Respondent.
Going by the background of the case, the Second Respondent, who was a person with a disability (hearing impaired), applied for appointment to the post of Legal Assistant Grade-II in the Law Department, Government Secretariat, in response to a notification issued by the Kerala Public Service Commission. Since the Petitioner’s name was included in the additional rank list for the hearing-impaired candidates, the Respondent approached the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Kerala.
The Kerala PSC submitted that as per a GO, the post of Legal Assistant was identified as fit to be filled up by Persons with Low Vision and Persons with Locomotor Disability. By another GO, the Government included the category of Hearing Impaired also as fit for appointment. Hence, the Kerala PSC issued addendum notification including candidates with hearing impairment also. The Petitioner was allotted 2nd Rank in the supplementary list and the candidate at 1st Rank was given appointment as Legal Assistant. From the entire rank lists, 44 candidates were appointed, however, the Petitioner was not appointed as the next turn for Hearing Impaired did not reach and the validity of the Rank List expired before reaching the next turn.
Later, the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities directed that the additional second respondent-Law Secretary, Government of Kerala shall compute the backlog vacancies of Legal Assistant Grade II of the hearing impaired category and report one of such vacancies to the Secretary of the Kerala Public Service Commission for giving appointment to the Petitioner as Legal Assistant Grade II. Hence the petition by Kerala PSC.
Referring to Sections 80 to 83 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the High Court observed that the State Disability Commissioner has the power only to advise and make recommendations to appropriate authorities, and therefore, bypassing such direction to the effect appointment of the second Respondent as Legal Assistant Grade- II in the Law Department, the Disability Commissioner had exceeded its jurisdiction.
The High Court also highlighted that after the enactment of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, all service matters pertaining to appointment to Central Government and State Government services are to be adjudicated by the Administrative Tribunals constituted under the Act.
Noting that Section 28 states that no court except the Supreme Court or any interstate Tribunal, Labour Court, or other authority constituted under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 or any other corresponding law for the time being in force shall have or be entitled to exercise any jurisdiction, powers or authority in relation to such recruitment or matters concerning such recruitment or such service matters, the High Court concluded that the State Disability Commissioner, therefore, couldn’t make an adjudication on a service matter and direct appointment of a person to civil services of the Central Government or the State Government.
Accordingly, the Bench quashed the order passed by the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Kerala.
Cause Title: Kerala Public Service Commission v. State Disability Commissioner and Ors.