|W.P No. 44037/ 2016
|Date of Filing
|1. The Managing Director, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation 2. The Divisional Controller, KSRTC, Chikkmagalur Division
|1. Sri. Ganapathi M. Naika, Office Assistant, Booking Counter, KSRTC Bus Stand, Chikamagalur 2. The Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995
This case is a service matter, filed by Karnataka State Road Transportation Corporation against Mr. Ganapathi M Naika, who was appointed by KSRTC as a driver-cum-conductor. While on duty, he met with an accident wherein he sustained injuries and was disabled with 55% locomotor disability.
The Petitioner corporation demoted him to the post of Office Helper from the post of driver-cum-conductor and he was neither paid the same scale nor was he being considered for promotion. Thereafter, on 04.04.2014, a Provisional Seniority List of all the Office Helpers was made and Mr. Ganapathi Naika was the senior-most, with necessary educational qualifications, eligible for promotion to the post of Junior-Assistant-cum-Data Entry Operator. For that reason, Mr. Ganapathi Naika was required to produce a medical certificate in Form 3 for promotion to be finalized. But the Medical Certificate submitted by him was rejected by the Respondents and accordingly Mr. Ganapathi Naika did not receive the rightful promotion on the said ground.
Although Mr. Ganapathi Naika sent several representations to the Petitioners to consider him for promotion but it went in vain. Finally, Mr. Ganapathi Naika filed a complaint with the Disability Commissioner. The Disability Commissioner after considering the matter, passed on order dated 20.02.2016 directing the Petitioner Corporation to promote Mr. Ganapathi Naika to the post of Junior Assistant-cum-Data Entry Operator.
Now, despite the said order, the Petitioner Corporation did not give Mr. Ganapathi Naik his rightful promotion and they filed the present petition challenging the Order of the Commissioner. The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka vide order dated 16.07.2021 directed the KSRTC to promote Mr. Ganapathi Naika to the post of Junior Assistant-cum-Data Entry Operator within four months from the date of receipt of medical certificate. The Respondents were further required to furnish the
prescribed medical certificate under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The Hon’ble High Court relied on the judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Kerala and Others v. Leesamma Joseph, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 435 which placed reliance on Section 47 of the afore-mentioned legislation. Section 47 of the 1995 Act provides for non-discrimination in government employment. Accordingly, no establishment can dispense with or reduce in rank any employee who acquired a disability during his service nor can a promotion be denied on the grounds of disability. Equal opportunity in career progression would thus entail a right against exclusion from promotion owing to a disability. Additionally, the Court relied on the judgment in Rajeev Kumar Gupta v. Union of India by which the Supreme Court ruled in favour of reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities. Therefore, the Petitioners in the present case were directed to rectify the situation by resolving the grievance of Mr. Ganapathi Naik.
This judgment rendered by the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka has fortified and strengthened the protections afforded to persons with disabilities under the law, and is seen as a welcome step in ensuring non-discrimination in employment. By holding that persons with disabilities are equally entitled to progressions in their career, the Court has safeguarded their right to equality and prevented discriminatory practices on the basis of disability.
This post was co-authored by Keya Rebello, a student of Christ University, and Deepika Hungenahally.