Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Stipulating 50% Disability Limit In Hearing Impairment Or Visual Impairment For Post Of Judicial Officer Legitimate: SC

The Supreme Court has held that stipulating a limit of 50% disability in hearing impairment or visual impairment as a condition to be eligible for the post of a judicial officer is a legitimate restriction.
The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph observed thus while dismissing the appeal filed by a V. Surendra Mohan, who was held ineligible for the post of judicial officer (civil judge) as it was found that he was having 70% disability. The High Court had dismissed the writ petition filed by Surendra Mohan challenging this decision by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission.
The apex court bench, while considering his appeal, noted that, in this case, the State, High Court and Public Service Commission were of the view that disability, which is suitable for appointment on the post of Civil Judge should be between 40%-50%, and thus the said prescription does not violate any statutory provision nor contravene any of the provisions of the Act, 1995. It also observed that, in this case, the requirement of reservation as mandated by Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is clearly fulfilled. 
The court also noted that, as per the definition of disability in the Act, a person with disability is a person who is suffering from not less than 40% of any disability and thus the benefit of reservation under the Act thus can be claimed only by a person who is suffering from 40% or more of any disability. 
One of the issues that popped up for consideration was that, how can one who suffers from partial blindness of more than 50% be excluded from consideration since they are also partial blind. In this regard, the court said: "The word "partial blind" may be a general concept but where a percentage has been fixed looking to nature of job, it cannot be said that all partially blind are eligible. There is a valid classification with a nexus to object sought to be achieved, when eligibility is fixed 40% to 50% of disability...  Partially blind and partially deaf disability of 40%-50% has been pegged to achieve the object of appointing such partially blind and partially deaf physically disabled persons who are able to perform the duties of Civil Judge(Junior Division). "
"It is well within the power of appointing authority to prescribe eligibility looking to the nature of the job, which is to be performed by holder of a post", the bench added.
While upholding the said stipulation, the bench observed: "A judicial officer in a State has to possess reasonable limit of the faculties of hearing, sight and speech in order to hear cases and write judgments and, therefore, stipulating a limit of 50% disability in hearing impairment or visual impairment as a condition to be eligible for the post is a legitimate restriction i.e. fair, logical and reasonable."

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