The Delhi High Court observed that the State shall ensure that the Persons with Disabilities are not subjected to harassment by being transferred or posted at places where they cannot get an environment being conducive for their working.

The Court observed thus in a writ petition filed by an orthopedically handicapped person against IRCON International Limited.

A Single Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said, “State shall ensure that the Persons with Disabilities are not subjected to unnecessary and relentless harassment by being transferred/posted at places where they are unable to get an environment which is conducive for their working. Furthermore, it aims at ensuring that the Persons with Disabilities shall have the requisite medical facilities, etc. available at the place they are posted.”

Advocate G.M. Padma Priya appeared for the petitioner while Advocate Debarshi Bhadra appeared for the respondents.

Facts of the Case -

The petitioner was an orthopedically handicapped person with 72% locomotor disability and the respondent i.e., IRCON, a government company incorporated by the Central Government (Ministry of Railways) under the Companies Act, 1956. IRCON is a leading turnkey construction company in the public sector and 86% of its shares are held by the Railways Ministry. In 2017, the said disabled person joined as Deputy Manager HRM at Human Resource Management Department in IRCON’s corporate office and was subsequently transferred to its wholly owned subsidiary vide an office order in 2020.

He initiated representation before the Competent Authority to challenge promotion in the organization through e-office which was rejected in 2022 and his request to consider his candidature for promotion was dismissed. He was transferred from IRCON ISL, Noida to the corporate office and hence, he filed a complaint before the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities against IRCON for non-adherence with the legal provisions under Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. A show-cause notice was then issued to him and thereafter, he was again transferred from the corporate office, Saket to Chhattisgarh Rail Project. Therefore, he approached the High Court.

The High Court in view of the above facts noted, “… India being a welfare State embarks on ensuring that there is provision of equal opportunity to the Persons with Disabilities. Moreover, it aims at ensuring that the Persons with Disabilities are not subjected to any discrimination either at place of education, place of work, any public place, etc and further aims at ensuring of giving them access to the requisite education training, medical facilities, etc and therefore, the State has enacted various laws, and has signed various International treaties to fulfil the said objective.”

The Court further said that to ensure that there are equal opportunities provided to the persons with disabilities at workplace, the State has issued various Office memorandums pertaining to posting and transfers of Persons with Disabilities. It said that the State by various enactments and Office Memorandums has the objective of ensuring that the transfers and job postings of the Persons with Disabilities shall be in such a way that they shall be given the choice to be posted at their preferred place of posting and may even be exempted from rotational transfers as mandated for other employees.

“The petitioner has pleaded before this Court that he needs medical attention which can only be provided at his current place of posting i.e., at Delhi. Since, the petitioner wears a knee length prosthetic known as an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) in his left leg, and that he is under the supervision of a para-medical professional for the last seven years and that the said AFO needs regular maintenance for its wear and tear for which the petitioner needs to visit their workshop/clinic which is in Delhi”, also noted the Court.

The Court concluded by saying that while adjudicating upon such delicate matters, the court must be more sensitive and empathetic to the plight of a person with disability and also to ensure that values provided in Articles 14, 15, 16, and 21 of the Constitution of India are duly protected.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the petition and set aside the transfer order.

Cause Title- Bhavneet Singh v. IRCON International Limited through Chairman and Managing Director & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:9447)

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