DELHI, Mar 13: Opening up employment opportunities denied to them for years, the Delhi High Court (HC) on Friday directed the Indian Railways, the country’s largest employer, to fill up nearly 4,100 vacancies reserved for people with disabilities within six months.
“We make it clear that no further extension of time shall be granted to the Railways for filling up these posts. Special recruitment drive shall be conducted by the Railways and also no laxity on its part will be entertained,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said. The vacant posts are in Category C and D as well as in top-tier Category A.
The court pulled up the Railway Ministry for adopting an unreasonable stand on not filling up certain posts in technical and operational categories and directed it to fill such posts in accordance with the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
At a previous hearing, the court had censured the Railways for being “adamant” on seeking exemption from filling up posts in certain categories. “We only observe at this stage that mindset of the Railway Authority in this behalf needs to be changed and they should realise that persons with disabilities are to be given appropriate employment opportunities so that they become an asset to the country. Long ago, this issue was considered... that the problem of people with disabilities is no more a medical issue as it is a human rights issue.
People with disabilities do not want to be a burden on the society. They do not want sympathy or the aid from the so-called able persons. They want equal opportunities to grow,” the court had said.
In its judgment on Friday, the court reiterated the significance of providing employment opportunities to persons with disabilities.
The court was hearing a petition by All India Confederation of the Blind, filed in 2005.
The confederation’s counsel, Rajan Mani, informed the court that Railways had not been honouring the Disabilities Act provisions providing 3 per cent reservation to people with disabilities since 1996, as a result of which some 4,100 posts reserved for them were lying vacant as of October 2008.