Supreme Court sets deadline for roll out of quotas for disabled in promotions

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Supreme Court sets deadline for roll out of quotas for disabled in promotions

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to issue instructions “at the earliest and not later than four months” for giving reservation in promotions to persons with disabilities (PwDs).
  • Section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, provides that “every appropriate government shall appoint in every government establishment not less than 4% of the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts meant to be filled with persons with benchmark disabilities …”
  • In January 14, 2020 judgment, apex court confirmed that PwDs have a right to reservation in promotions.
  • The judgement is famously known as Siddaraju v/s State of Karnataka.

About Siddaraju v/s State of Karnataka case:

  • In the case of Siddaraju v/s State of Karnataka, the Supreme Court affirmed the Reservation of Persons with Disability (PWDs) under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. In the given case, the decision given under Indra Sawhney’s Case was reconsidered.
  • The Court was of the view that the basis for providing reservation for PWD is a physical disability and not any of the criteria forbidden under article 16(1).
  • Further, the reservation of persons with disability has nothing to do with 50% ceiling. Therefore, the rule of no reservation promotions as laid down in Indra Sawhney has clearly and normatively no application to persons with disability.

Other landmark judgements with regard to Reservation in promotion:

  • In the Indira Sawhney case (1992), SC held that the reservation policy cannot be extended to promotions.
  • However, the 77th Constitutional Amendment inserted clause 4A in article 16 and restored provision of reservations in promotions.
  • In Nagaraj judgement (2006), Court laid down three controlling conditions that the state must meet prior to granting SC/ST a reservation in promotion:
  • state must show that backwardness of the class
  • class is inadequately represented in position or service
  • reservations are in the interest of Administrative efficiency
  • In Jarnail Singh case (2018), it struck down the demonstration of backwardness provision from Nagaraj judgement.

Rights and entitlements under Act

  • Responsibility has been cast upon the appropriate governments to take effective measures to ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
  • Additional benefits such as reservation in higher education (not less than 5%), government jobs (not less than 4 %), reservation in allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes (5% allotment) etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
  • Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
  • Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities.
  • For strengthening the Prime Minister’s Accessible India Campaign, stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings(both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.

UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD):

  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
  • There were 82 signatories to the Convention. The Convention entered into force on 3 May 2008.
  • It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century.
  • The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities.
  • It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.
  • The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension.
  • It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.