|W.P. No. 8048/2021
|Date of Filing
|National Federation for the Blind
|1. State of Karnataka – Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms 2. State of Karnataka – Women and Child Development, Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens 3. The State Commissioner for Disabilities
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), an organization working for the rights of the visually impaired, through its state branch in Karnataka, has filed this public interest litigation in the Karnataka High Court. The Petitioner is challenging the validity of Government Order dated 26.09.2020, which decreased the percentage of reservation given to persons with blindness by the Department for Personnel and Administrative Reforms, State of Karnataka (DPAR).
Earlier, in 2009, the DPAR, through an earlier Government Order, had earmarked 2% reservation for persons with blindness and low-vision within the horizontal reservation of 5% for persons with disabilities in the Karnataka State Civil Services. The present Government Order dated 26.09.2020 has decreased the quota for persons with blindness and low vision in Group C and D categories of the Karnataka State Civil Services from 2% (as per the earlier policy) to 1% within the allotted 5% reservations for physically-handicapped persons, relying solely upon census data from the year 2011.
After over a decade of such a policy existing based on census data that is also nearly a decade old, this change is unwarranted. In addition, the Government Order goes on to effectively state that the reservation is being brought down to accommodate for an increase in reservation to persons with locomotor disabilities within the 5% overall reservation.
The Petitioner has submitted that the number of persons with blindness / low-vision is 19.9% of the total number of persons with disabilities, whereas the percentage of persons with locomotor disability is 20.5% of the total number of persons with disabilities. Even if the number of persons with locomotor disabilities has increased significantly in the state, then the appropriate measure would have been to increase the reservation for such persons without decreasing the reservation extended to other sub-categories.
The Petitioner has also pointed out that persons having blindness and low vision already have a very limited number of posts that have identified under such earmarked reservation, and that decreasing the same only increases the already prevalent discrimination and barriers faced to enter the workforce by persons with blindness and low vision.
The matter will now be heard on merits on 02.12.2021.