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Petition in Delhi High Court seeks UPSC exam seats for persons with learning and mental disabilities

Date : 03/04/2018

NPRS v UoI & Ors
W.P.(C) 2599/2018

This petition sought the court’s direction against a Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) notification of February 7, 2018 (Examination Notice No. 04/2018-CSP) which, it said, was against the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016 (RPWD Act).

Section 34 of the RPWD Act states that not less than 4% of the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts in government establishments needs to be filled with persons with benchmark disabilities of which 1% each shall be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities under clause (a), (b) and (c) and 1% for persons with benchmark disabilities under clause (d) and (e).

However, the UPSC notification violated Act since it did not provide for reservations to the persons to persons with benchmark disability under clause (d). Clause (d) includes disabilities such as autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illnesses.

By failing to identify jobs for people with these disabilities, the respondents were also in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, the petition said. It was, thus, discriminating against persons suffering from mental disabilities, specific learning disabilities, autism, and intellectual disabilities and showed its narrow-minded approach towards persons suffering from such disabilities by not placing them on equal footing with other citizens of India.

The petition thus prayed for the court’s direction to ask the UPSC to amend its notification, and identify posts for persons with benchmark disabilities as specified under clause (d).

In response, the court issued notice to UPSC and asked for counter-affidavits from Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Secretary (Services), Department of Social Welfare. At the behest of our advocate, it also directed the impleadment of Government of NCT of Delhi in the case.

The matter is now listed for July 16, 2018. We will update this case as it develops.

Read the high court's order here.

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