[AI] Pls Advise - Case of Shalini Sethi from Delhi

SC Vashishth subhashvashishth at gmail.com
Wed Jun 30 01:01:20 EDT 2010

Dear Friends,

To come back to the main discussion, I do agree there are shortcomings in
the working of the office of CCPD and I find precisely four reasons for it:

(a) No full time independent Commissioner
(b) Lack of staff vis-a-vis number of complaints received per day
(c) No power to direct, its more of advisory nature, so often respondents
don't take CCPD seriously and do not reply or appear.
(d) staff transferred from other ministries/departments on deputation with
no knowledge of the disability, laws and its practice and how does a court

Mr. Dhariyal is now an experience hand at the office of CCPD we have our own
interest in retaining him. In fact when we had full time CCPD and two Dy
Commissioners, (Ms. Sunita Singh, if you remember who looked after the court
work) the work started to roll but Ms. Sunita Singh was recalled soon.

Its less of his fault than of the system that he works in. I am not
defending the officer, but the sheer number of staff and multiple
responsibilities that have been handed over to the counted staff is mind
boggling and the Ministry is least bothered about it for no one is
agitating. None of us would be able to justice with that pendency number
with higher expectations of the sector from them. Then gradually when they
can't handle the sheer number they start prioritizing and take action on
cases which are urgent in nature, or on which there is likelihood of
ministry or media or court taking a note of. This further rottens the system
and most cases start dragging for years with no justice seems coming.

Also lot of work that the state commissioners should be doing is falling on
the office of CCPD being the central office and half the time the CCPD does
only post office work - forwarding representations from states to state
commissioners - ofcourse with handly much action happening on them.

I think the way out is to expand the CCPD office and provide trained staff
to the office. At least four Dy. Commissioners and one full time CCPD with
trained staff and fully computerised system of tracking matters.  I would
agree with the idea of having a judge or an advocate experienced in
disability law & human rights holds this office instead of Babus and NGO
heads. The Ministry of Social Justice has to seriously take a note of it and
disability sector should lead a strong agitation.

On George's point of removal of employee with disability on ground of
non-performance, we have got an infamous order from none other than Hon'ble
Supreme Court in the case Union of India Vs. Devendra Kumar Pant, on which I
wrote my reflections on my blog:

However, before deciding the legality of removing a person with disability
from job on account of non-performance, I would say, it is necessary to look
at whether the employee was given reasonable accommodation, assistive aids
and devices required to perform that job and sufficient training. Also
whether the bad behaviour has been construed because the employee demanded
such accommodation and support and was not given.

Mere declaring a person useless and charge him with bad behaviour is the
easiest thing to do which is often done by insensitive employers and
colleagues.There is an urgent need of guidance to the employers to this
effect- both in Govt. and in private and also there is an urgent need of
providing support systems like technology, assistive aids, adaptation and
reasonable accommodation at the cost of Government to provide equitable
opportunities to those experiencing disabilities.


Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Advocate-Disability Rights

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