Guwahati, Feb 17: Posts and vacancies reserved for persons with disabilities (PwDs) cannot be sub-classified on the basis of caste, creed or religion, Gauhati High Court has ruled.
The Court, in a recent judgment, maintained that as PwDs constitute a category in themselves, there cannot be any further classification among the members of that category.
Based on the observation, it granted relief to a writ petitioner who was excluded from the recruitment drive conducted by the Assam government because he was a general category candidate with physical disability.
“This Court is of the unhesitant opinion that having reserved four vacancies to be filled up by PWD candidates and having permitted the General Category candidates to participate in the recruitment process, there was no scope for the authorities to further reserve those four vacancies in PWD category to be filled up only by candidates belonging to OBC/MOBC or ST(H) category,” the bench ruled.
Aggrieved by non-inclusion in the select list, the petitioner, who belongs to the general category but has hearing impairment, had filed a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to appoint him against the quota reserved for the PwD category candidates in the veterinary department.
The advocate and counsel appearing for the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC), contended that in the advertisement notice itself the respondents had mentioned that out of the four vacancies reserved for PwD candidates, three were meant for OBC/ MOBC category and one post was for ST(H) category.
The counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on the judgment of a Supreme Court case and contended that law was firmly settled that further reservation amongst the disabled on the basis of caste, creed or religion would be impermissible.
“There is no wrangle at the bar that as many as four posts of veterinary officer/block veterinary officer were reserved for being filled up by candidates belonging to the PwD category. However, as per the advertisement notice, these four posts were meant only for candidates with physical disability belonging to the OBC/ MOBC and ST (H) categories,” the Court observed.
“From the advertisement notice, it is clear that the recruitment process was not a special drive for intake of only reserved category candidates belonging to OBC/ MOBC/ ST(H) category but the same was meant for the general category candidates as well,” it observed.
“There is also no dispute about the fact that the petitioner suffers from disability, being a person suffering from hearing handicap. As such, he would have been entitled to the benefit of reservation meant for the PwD hearing handicap category,” the Court held.
Setting aside the order issued by the secretary, APSC, dated November 30, 2018, the Court directed the state to consider the petitioner’s case within 60 days, for appointment in the post of veterinary officer/block veterinary officer against one of the three vacancies reserved for PwD category candidates.