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Above: Disabled children participating in a rally on the occasion of World Disabled (file picture).Photo: UNI

The issue of whether people with disabilities deserve reservation in promotions as well, apart from the reservation that exists in appointment, has been escalated by the Supreme Court to a five-judge bench since it requires interpretation of constitutional statutes.

On Monday (September 4) the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud have heard deposition by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and counsels have requested a larger bench to gear the issue. The court agreed.

The question that has arisen in this case is whether persons, governed under “The persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995”, can be given reservation in promotion. A view had been taken by this Court in Rajiv Kumar Gupta & Others vs Union of India & Others in the affirmative. The Solicitor General had pointed out that the prohibition against reservation in promotion laid down by the majority in Indra Sawhney & Others vs Union of India & Others – (1992) case applies not only to Article 16(4) but also to 16 (1) of the Constitution of India and inference to the contrary is not justified. Persons suffering from disability certainly require preferential treatment and such preferential treatment may also cover reservation in appointment but not reservation in promotion. Section 33 of the 1995 Act is required to be read and construed in that background. “We find merit in the contention that the matter needs to be considered by the larger bench,” he said.

On that basis, on Monday the counsels requested for escalation of this matter to a higher bench.

India Legal Bureau

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