[AI] Kerala HC extends helping hand
Sruti disAbility Rights Centre
sruti.darc at gmail.com
Sun Jul 12 23:27:04 PDT 2015
Kerala High Court in *Prasanna Kumari E.S. v. The Registrar, Kannur
University and Ors. *has ruled in favor of the 40 year old visually
impaired lady advocate, who was denied the post of a lecturer by Kannur
Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar ordered Kannur University to consider the
suitability of Mr. Prasanna Kumari “for the post notified by treating her
as a candidate who has the necessary age qualification for the post and is
otherwise eligible for the post.”
The court also ordered the university to complete the aforesaid exercise
within two months.
Ms. Prasanna Kumari
is a visually impaired person with 100% disability as certified by a
Medical Board. She acquired an LLB Degree followed by a Post Graduate
Degree (LLM) and also obtained the National Eligibility Test [NET]
qualification that is mandated by the University Grants Commission for
appointment as Lecturers.
In the year 2008, the petitioner responded to notification dated 29.1.2008
issued by the Kannur University inviting applications for the post of
Lecturer in Law. In the said notification, one post of Lecturer in the
Department of Law was notified, and was reserved for physically handicapped
persons. The notification made it clear that if there were no eligible
candidates from the category for which the post was reserved, candidates
belonging to other eligible categories including open category would be
considered strictly as per the norms stipulated in the Kerala State &
Subordinate Services Rules, 1958.
During the interview, a question was raised with regard to her age. She
clarified that by virtue of the Government order dated 25.5.1984 issued by
the State Government, she was entitled to the benefit of age relaxation as
contemplated for physically handicapped candidates.
The University however, appointed a candidate from the open category to the
post, without any further communication with the petitioner.
The question to be considered by the Court was whether the Petitioner could
be disqualified for the post of Lecturer in Law on account of the fact that
she was aged 40 years and seven months as on 1.1.2008, the cut-off date
mentioned in the notification.
She had prayed that the appointment of the open category candidate to the
post of Lecturer in Law, called under the vacancy and reservation Quota for
Physically Handicapped, be declared illegal. She had further sought that
she be declared entitled to be appointed as a Lecturer in Law.
The University had contended that the State Rules providing for age
relaxation was adopted by the University after the job was notified.
The Court however observed that even though the university failed to adopt
the rules framed by the state government, it could still have gone by the
rules framed by the government in tune with the central legislation
governing the field, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities,
Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995.
Allowing the petition, the court held that the *“action of the university
in not considering the suitability of the petitioner for the post of
lecturer in law, under the quota earmarked for the physically challenged
candidates, is clearly illegal.”*
The Court also directed the University to consider the case for retaining
the open category candidate who was erroneously appointed by the
University, if possible, against any other vacancy in a sanctioned post or
through the creation of a supernumerary post, if the rules of the
respondent University so permit.
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