Two people with mobility impairments have filed a petition with the Kerala Administrative Court seeking to overturn a 2013 circular from the Kerala Civil Service Commission.
Sakeer Hussain EP, a rickshaw driver in Kerala’s Malappuram district, had high hopes when he was on the Kerala Civil Service Commission final list of candidates for government teaching posts. It has been on the ranking list twice – the first time for Junior Language Teacher Upper Primary School, which was released in December 2018, and the second time for Full-time Junior Language Teacher, which was released in December 2019. However, the 36 – A 1 year old man with a musculoskeletal disability (clubfoot, which is a congenital malformation) is still waiting his turn for a teaching position.
According to the rules of the Kerala Civil Service Commission (the recruitment agency for government jobs in the state), a published ranking list must remain in effect for a period of one year from the date of publication. The list will be valid for a minimum period of one year or a maximum of three years, after which a new ranking list is published. In Sakeer’s case, the validity of the ranking list published in December 2018 expired in December 2021. However, according to Sakeer, between the three-year period, there was no notification of appointment in the “disabled” category. physical (PH) âand the post is still vacant. Other candidates on the list were able to take up vacancies for the post of full-time junior language teacher (UPS Arabic) in the education department of Thiruvananthapuram, he alleged.
Sakeer is the only candidate among persons with disabilities in the 2018 and 2019 lists for the post of Junior Arabic Language Teacher. “The validity of the second ranking list will also soon be over, and my hopes of getting a government job, as legally restricted to people with disabilities, are also fading,” Sakeer told TNM. His fear of not being on the following ranking lists is based on a circular issued by the PSC in April 2013, which he said hampered his professional development and that of other people with disabilities.
The Kerala PSC circular basically states that if a person with a disability is not available for a position for two consecutive years, they can be filled by a person without a disability – and the vacant position for a person with a disability does not need to be. renewed. notified. However, in the circular, the PSC announced that the notification of vacancies would be published once every one or three years, until the expiration of the ranking list.
It’s not just Sakeer, but Sreelesh, a Kozhikode resident with a locomotive disability, is also baffled by the flyer. Sreelesh is also the only disabled candidate in the ranking list for the position of Junior Instructor (Toolmaker and Toolmaker) in the Industrial Training Department. The ranking list was released in July this year, however, he fears the circular could hinder his chances of getting a government job.
In two separate petitions in November this year, Sakeer and Sreelesh, who fall under the locomotive (orthopedic) disability category, challenged the circular in the Kerala Administrative Court, seeking to overturn it. They argued that the circular equates the year of selection with the year of recruitment, thus running counter to the Disability Rights Act 2016.
Why the circular is against people with disabilities
The Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 (PWD) allowed a 3% reservation for persons with disabilities for government services. With the introduction of the Disability Rights Act 2016 (RPWD), the reservation quota was increased to 4%.
If candidates for various government positions are interviewed and deemed suitable for a position by the Civil Service Commission, they are placed on the ranking list. The list is divided into a main list and a supplementary list, under which is the list of candidates with disabilities for appointments against the 3% (or 4%) of the vacant posts reserved. There are three categories of disability: “low vision”, “hearing impairment” and “locomotor disability”. The first priority in the ranking is given to the visually impaired, second to the hearing impaired and then to people with locomotor disabilities. Sakeer holds the first place in the 2018 Supplementary Disability Ranking, while the other two categories remain void.
Under the two central laws (Law PWD 1995 and RPWD 2016), if a suitable disabled candidate in the classified list is not available to fill the vacant post during a recruitment year (calendar), he may be notified again the following recruiting year. If an eligible candidate is still not available, the position can be filled by exchange between the three categories of disability. For example, if a visually impaired candidate is not available, the vacant position may be filled by candidates classified from either of the other two categories.
However, if no suitable disabled candidate is available for the third consecutive year, the post in question may be assigned to a non-disabled person.
In the circular (dated April 10, 2013), the state’s PSC said it had held discussions to assess whether the new notifications were needed for vacant positions for people with disabilities on grading lists, and has decided to abandon the process.
While the circular cites the relevant âfill vacanciesâ provision of the PWD Act of 1995, it also cites Rule 15 (a) of the State of Kerala and Subordinate Services (KS & SSR) Rules. The rules cover the method of recruitment, length of service and promotion under the Kerala Civil Service Act.
âIn accordance with KS & SSR Rule 15 (a), the ranking list is only valid for one selection year (recruiting year),â the circular read. This is what Sakeer and Sreelesh disputed.
The circular equates âyear of recruitmentâ in central law to âyear of selectionâ in the State of Kerala and the rules of subordinate services. âSelection yearâ, as defined in the KS & SSR, is the validity of the ranking list, which is one year or three years maximum. The recruiting year, on the other hand, is effectively only a calendar year.
âThe term ‘recruitment year’ was not defined in the 2016 law. However, the intention of the legislature is clear that vacancies during a recruitment year will be calculated annually, that is. ie on the basis of a calendar year, âSakeer said in his petition.
The decision of the Kerala Civil Service Commission not to re-notify vacancies based on the selection year means that the suitable disabled candidate will only be notified once during the three-year validity of the ranking list. The opportunity will then go to people in the general category.
“Until then, the candidate will have to wait even more years for a new notification to the post and get a place on the ranking list again to be eligible for a nomination,” the petition says.
According to the circular, if suitable candidates are not available in the âPhysically Disabled (PH)â category of the ranking lists, instead of re-notifying these vacancies, these positions can be kept as âpending vacancy due to the non-availability of the PH candidate and be informed of the next ranked list. ‘ This vacant post would be filled in the next selection year and the ranking list would be prepared there. And if no eligible disabled person is available in the following selection year as well, the position can be filled by exchange between the three categories of disabled persons. But when no disabled person is available for the post during that selection year, the post may be filled by other people, among those who are not disabled.
âThis circular is against the law on the rights of people with disabilities. A circular cannot go against the mandate of the parent law. It gets in the way of getting jobs for people like Sakeer, which they rightly deserve, âSakeer Hussain’s adviser Raghul Sudheesh told TNM.
the Supreme Court said that such circulars had no validity in the eyes of the law, he added. âIn 2014, the Kerala High Court asked the Kerala PSC to do an introspection on the circular and observed that the circular went against what the law seeks to achieve. The circular survived the legal challenge in the High Court of Kerala in 2014 only for the reason that it was not a subject of challenge in the High Court, âsaid Raghul.
âIn my two ranking lists, I am the only person in the disabled category. According to the circular, the first priority in the PH category in the classification list is for the blind, the second for the hearing impaired and then for people with locomotor disabilities. This makes me eligible for the position as there was no blind or deaf person on the ranking list. Yet they didn’t send me the letter of appointment, citing the letter, âSakeer said.
“The PSC is waiting for the validity of the ranking list to expire, so it would not need to notify the vacant post again and a general category member would be selected from the next ranking list,” Sreelesh said. .
âIt was done with the belief that people with disabilities will not react or protest. That made me challenge it, âsaid Sreelesh, who now works in a private company on a temporary basis and is the sole breadwinner in his family of four.
âThe appointment of disabled people is one of the social measures envisaged by the provisions of central laws. In each recruitment, 3% or 4% of vacant positions must be reserved for these candidates. Therefore, efforts will need to be made to fill vacancies in accordance with the provisions of central laws, âSakeer said in his petition, adding that the circular violates not only his rights under central laws, but the rights prescribed in Articles 14. (equality before the law), 16 (right to equal opportunity in public employment) and 21 (no one may be deprived of his life or personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.
The request was to request the registrations that led to the drafting of the circular and to cancel it, and to authorize the initial request. He also urged the court to order the state government and the PSC district officer.
The Tribunal sent a notification to the PSC for its responses to the two motions.
âBeing on a PSC ranking list is no easy task given the stiff competition. We are concerned that we may one day return to the list because of the age limit (35, with a relaxation of five years for people with disabilities), âsaid Sakeer. In addition, for an Arabic teacher, there are fewer vacancies in the state because it is not taught in all schools. âIt makes my situation even darker,â Sakeer said.
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