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NPRD Welcomes SC Interim Order on Exemption in Job Reservation to Persons with Disabilities

The Court directed an Expert Committee constituted by the Union government to relook into the matter.
Dignified Treatment of Disabled Travellers

The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has welcomed an interim order passed by the Supreme Court, directing the Union government "to relook into the issue of exemption in job reservation to persons with disabilities in the Indian Police Service, Indian Railways Protection Force Service, & Delhi, Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Police Service [DANIPS]."

The Supreme Court bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar, Abhay S Oka, and Justice J B Pardiwala issued the order on a writ petition filed by NPRD, challenging an August 2021 notification issued by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD). The notification had exempted the services mentioned above "from the purview of reservations in jobs mandated by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act, 2016."

In its challenge to the notification, NPRD argued that the blanket exemption provided to these services from hiring persons with disabilities, even for non-combatant jobs, "is unconstitutional and militates against both the letter and spirit of the RPD Act, which has equality and non-discrimination as its guiding principles."

Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, appearing for NPRD, contended that the Union government's Expert Committee didn't discuss the suitability of disabled persons for these jobs at large and merely limited it to people who were Acid attack survivors. To further illustrate his point, Datar references similar examples from police and armed from around the world where persons with disabilities have been employed.

In its interim order, the Bench directed the Expert Committee to "relook the matter after considering all the submissions of the petitioner (NPRD), who has been permitted to submit a detailed note bringing to the Expert Committee's consideration the totality of circumstances including precedents set by other countries."

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