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A case which restored a disabled man’s seniority, which had been held back due to an unfairly withheld promotion

Date : 16/07/2010

Gurbir Singh Kochar vs. Punjab State Electricty Board

Mr. Gurbir Singh Kochar, who is confined to a wheelchair, was employed as an assistant director in the Chandigarh Thermal Plant. In March 1999, he was due for a promotion and was accordingly promoted to Senior Engineer and reassigned to the Ropar Thermal Plant, which does not have the requisite facilities for wheelchair accessibility. He petitioned to remain at Chandigarh, which is the only plant in Punjab with wheelchair accessibility. His request was turned down and he was forced to continue in his previous position at the Chandigarh plant.

After only a few months, a junior engineer working in the Chandigarh plant was promoted to the position that had previously been denied to the petitioner. After he complained about this, he was eventually promoted a full year and half after he was initially marked for promotion. During this time, he was passed in terms of seniority by no less than 65 other employees, which is a clear violation of the Disability Act.

Section 47 of the Disability Act provides that no one should be denied a promotion due to having a disability. Furthermore, Sec. 47(1) provides that if no post is available, a supernumerary post shall be created until a suitable post opens up. Under the Act, Mr. Kochar should have been promoted and allowed to stay in Chandigarh; since he wasn’t he was deprived of almost two years of seniority.

A suit was filed before the Chief Commissioner alleging that the respondents’ treatment of Mr. Kochar violated the Disability Act and demanded that his seniority be restored. In an order dated 15.2.2007, the Chief Commissioner agreed and ordered that Mr. Kochar’s seniority be restored to exactly what it would have been had he been initially promoted.

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