|Case No.||W.P.NO. 20317 /2021||Date of Filing||10/11/2021||Status||Pending||Petitioners||1. National Federation Of The Blind||Respondents||1. State Government of Karnataka, Department for the Empowerment of the Differently Abled and Senior Citizens 2. State Government of Karnataka 3. Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms|
CLPR on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, filed a PIL – W.P. No. 20317/2021 before the Karnataka High Court to ensure that a comprehensive transfer policy is formulated by the government to enable people with disabilities to work without discrimination and to provide them reasonable accommodation as mandated under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (“RPwD Act”).
Government employees with disabilities in Karnataka are routinely transferred without providing reasonable accommodation, which severely impacts their work performance, stability, and well-being. As a result, these persons with disabilities are often subjected to their persisting issues of accessing proper health care, family support, and difficulty in adjusting to a new environment.
Transferring government employees with disabilities routinely would put them at a disadvantage thus violating their right to equality and non-discrimination. They need to be given certain concessions and hence special transfer policies need to be framed for them, keeping in mind the need for substantive equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Further, the routine and rotational transfer of persons with disabilities by the Government also contravenes Article 21 of the Constitution of India as it infringes the right to go about their daily lives without having to suffer additional hardships such as being constantly transferred to an unfamiliar region, which would adversely impact them in several ways.
Section 20(5) states of the RPwD Act mandate that the appropriate government frame policies for posting and transferring of employees with disabilities. Rule 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017 states that every establishment must publish an equal opportunity policy for persons with disabilities, and the said policy must contain the manner of selection of persons with disabilities for various posts, post-recruitment and pre-promotion training, preference in transfer and posting, special leave, preference in allotment of residential accommodation if any, and other facilities.
Moreover, the Central Government has issued several office memorandums from time to time recommending that persons with disability should preferably be posted in their native places, or at the least, in their native districts and that requests from employees regarding transfer to their native places must also be given preference. Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment vide letter bearing No. 38-10/2020-DD-III dated 04.08.2020 requested the States and UTs to frame a comprehensive posting and transfer policy for employees with disabilities in respect of their organizations per Section 20(5) of the RPwD Act. Despite these, the Government of Karnataka has failed to formulate any policy on transfers for disabled employees.
Through this PIL, relief is sought to ensure that the Government of Karnataka frames a comprehensive transfer policy for disabled government employees, as required under Section 20 (5) of the RPwD Act 2016 in a time-bound manner.
On 19.07.2022, the PIL was admitted and the Hon’ble Court directed the State counsel to seek instructions regarding the transfer policy for persons with disabilities in the State of Karnataka within two weeks.
This litigation post was authored by our litigation associates- Sriraksha V Srivastav and BodhiSatya.