Supreme Court directs reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities
In a landmark case argued by the Disability Law Initiative, the Supreme Court on 30th June 2016 held as illegal the Government of India instructions disallowing reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities, and said that wherever posts are identified to be suitable for disabled persons, 3% reservation must be given in direct recruitment as well as in promotion. The case, argued by Rajan Mani, Advocate of the Disability Law Initiative, in coordination with the Human Rights Law Network, represents success in a hard fought battle waged by persons with disabilities for equal opportunity and representation in the higher echelons of Government. Hitherto, disabled persons were likely to stagnate at the lower levels of the organizational hierarchy, as their promotion to higher level posts was made difficult because of their physical disadvantage.
In the instant case, Rajeev Kumar Gupta and seven other disabled persons serving as engineers in Prasar Bharti made the grievance that the higher level Group A and B posts in the engineering cadre were filled only by promotion. Although these posts were identified as suitable for persons with disabilities, the Government was denying them 3% reservation in these posts, which amounted to defeating the intent and purpose of reservation provided for in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. The Petitioners challenged the Office Memorandum dated 29.12.2005 of Government of India, which prohibited reservation in promotion for disabled persons in Group A and B posts.
Before the Supreme Court, the Government of India reiterated its stand that reservation in promotion for disabled persons was impermissible, quoting the Indra Sawhney judjment of 1992. The Court, however, did not find favour with this reasoning, and opined that the object of the 1995 Act was to ensure social integration of persons with disabilities through 3% reservation in employment. The Court, noting that the representation of persons with disabilities in Government jobs was admittedly very low, held as illegal the Government instructions of 29.12.2005, and said that wherever a Government post is identified to be suitable for persons with disabilities, 3% reservation must be provided, irrespective of whether recruitment is direct or by promotion.
Download the judgment here: Rajeev Kumar Gupta vs. Union of India