[AI] CHENNAI: A 70% blind person rejected for magistrate post despite being selected approach SC

avinash shahi shahi88avinash at gmail.com
Sun Jul 5 22:57:52 PDT 2015

He's doing a right thing indeed!
CHENNAI: Perhaps emboldened by the success of significant number of
differently-abled people cracking the civil services examination on
Saturday, and the case of Beno, the first 100% visually disabled
person to be absorbed in IFS, a 70% blind person rejected for
magistrate post despite being selected, is now knocking at the Supreme
Court doors.

V Surendra Mohan of Tiruvottriyu, who is an assistant public
prosecutor of the CBI at present, cracked magistrate selection test,
but was denied appointment by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission
saying persons with more than 40% visual disability, could not be
considered for magistrate's post. When challenged, Madras high court
on June 5 upheld the rejection saying: "Taking into account the nature
of duties to be performed by a civil judge, government in consultation
with the high court, had proposed to restrict the applicability of the
benefit of reservation only to those whose disability ranges from 40
per cent to 50 per cent."

The 'proposed amendment', does not deprive the benefit of reservation,
but only restricts it to those whose percentage of disability is below
50%,' the high court reasoned.

Questioning the conclusion, SUrendra Mohan filed a special leave
petition in the Suprme Court framing a volley of question of law. He
said the high court had erroneously relied on admittedly a 'proposed
amendment' to deprive him of his right to be appointed as a civil
judge on the basis of his partial blindness as provided under the
Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights
and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

Wondering whether the high court could proceed on the basis of a
"proposed amendment" while ignoring the law as it stood, the SLP says
when there is no other blind candidate available for any of the posts
sanctioned, is it legal or equitable at all for the authorities to
have relied on an internal correspondence between the government and
the high court to ensure that no blind individual was accommodated.

Noting that with 70% blindness, he has been discharging his duties as
an assistant public prosecutor, he said there is no legal basis for
excluding him from the civil judge post. In a series of recruitment
drives over the years, the posts reserved for the blind have gone
abegging, Surendra Mohan said, adding: "This year as well, as a result
of the illegal action of the authorities, no blind candidate has been
recruited, reflecting a complete apathy on their part in discharging
obligations placed on them by the Constitution and the laws."

According to an April 11, 2005 government order, for civil judge posts
PB (partially blind) persons are eligible, the SLP said. A GO dated
August 31, 2012 excludes only those with "complete blindness", and
hence with 70% partial blindness he cannot in any way be excluded from
the recruitment, Surendra Mohan has said.
On 6/8/15, avinash shahi <shahi88avinash at gmail.com> wrote:
> This order is utterly disgusting: I contend even hundred per cent
> blind is fit for a Civil Court judge
> If this man approaches the Supreme Court and shows them evidences from
> US, South Africa and UK where blind judges hold reputed posts in
> Courts; I could hope that the highest Court of the land will pronounce
> judgment in his favour. Our judiciary should shed its contradictory
> approach while ensuring employment to persons with blindness. If a
> blind could become a parliamentarian and  join Indian executive then
> there is no doubt he/she is equally competent  to discharge his/her
> duty as a Civil Court Judge. India's former CCPD was a blind judge and
> exercised all rights as a Civil Court Judge.
> http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Partial-blindness-shatters-mans-judge-dreams/articleshow/47578609.cms
> A person suffering from 70% blindness has failed to secure the post of
> a civil judge despite clearing the written examination and viva voce,
> as the Madras high court ruled that visual disability of more than the
> maximum permissible limit of 50% cannot be allowed for civil judges.
>  Dismissing the writ petition of the aspirant V Surendra Mohan,
> Justice V Ramasubramanian said, "Taking into account the nature of
> duties to be performed by the civil judge, the government, in
> consultation with the high court, had proposed to restrict the
> applicability of the benefit of reservation only to those whose
> disability ranges from 40-50%. If a person has not less than 40%
> blindness, he becomes eligible for the benefit of reservation. This
> fundamental and essential feature of the reservation is not taken away
> by the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment, while not depriving
> the benefit of reservation to those who come within the definition of
> the expression 'person with disability', restricts it to those whose
> percentage of disability, is 50% less. This cannot be termed as
> nullifying the effect of the statute."
>  Surendra Mohan, a partially blind person with the percentage of
> disability at 70%, applied for civil judge post, and passed the
> written examination. Since he was not included in the list of
> candidates short-listed for viva voce, he filed the present writ
> petition for inclusion in the interview list.
>  The court first allowed him to participate in the interview and said
> the result would be kept in a sealed envelope. But later it passed
> orders in favour of declaring the result, in purview of a different
> case. Surendra Mohan secured 178 marks out of 400 in written
> examination, and 38.25 marks out of 60 in viva voce, it was revealed.
>  A difficulty arose because a government order dated August 8, 2014,
> had made it clear that the benefit of reservation for the physically
> challenged is available only to those blind and deaf candidates whose
> percentage of disability is 40-50%.
>  S Vijay Narayan, senior counsel for Surendra Mohan, then assailed the
> provision saying it sought to dilute the benefits available to
> disabled people. Rejecting the submissions, Justice Ramasubramanian
> further said it was too late to challenge the selection, because, "a
> person, who participates in a process of selection, cannot later turn
> around and question the prescription contained in the very
> notification for recruitment."
> --
> Avinash Shahi
> Doctoral student at Centre for Law and Governance JNU

Avinash Shahi
Doctoral student at Centre for Law and Governance JNU

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