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Supreme Court issues notice on Centre’s appeal challenging Madras HC order on appointing physically challenged lawyers as notaries

The Government has raised a legal issue that under the application of Section 34 of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, the Government have to consider to appoint 4% disabled lawyers out of the total appointment as a notary that would help to sustain and improve their career.

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The Supreme Court has issued notice on an appeal filed by the Government of India challenging the order of Madras High Court which had affirmed the order of single judge bench granting relief to physically challenged lawyers to be appointed as notaries under in consonance with the section 34 of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act.

The Government has raised a legal issue that under the application of Section 34 of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, the Government have to consider to appoint 4% disabled lawyers out of the total appointment as a notary that would help to sustain and improve their career.

A bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi while hearing the matter questioned the Counsel on behalf of the Government of India about the objection state has regarding the order passed by the High court in very simple statement, “High Court had said that when you are appointing the Notary you just have to reserve 4 % seat in consistency with the normal principle that you reserve for the physically handicapped person. You can reserve 4% seat. What is wrong in this?”

Rupinder Singh suri, senior advocate appearing on behalf of the Centre replying on the question asked by the Court submitted that, the High Court has extended the privilege of Rights of persons with disability Act. He further submitted that the application of this Act is not correct. Section 34 of the act is not applicable here at all. It’s not a government established mandatory rule. It only goes with the government establishment. There is no public funding. It’s a privilege to the lawyer and lawyer gets paid for the services that they render.

Meanwhile the arguments, Court asked to the Centre to think of the good old time when STD booths etc were used to be the normal thing but in the present time we don’t see that. Still these STD Booth are used to be manned by the people who are physically handicapped. The Ministry of Telecom used to give those kinds of booths to those persons facing physically incapacity.

The Court on the submission made by Suri asked if the same rule was the outcome of any Government policy instead of an order passed by the Court then will it be fine with you. Suri affirmed the inference made the Court and submitted that “If there is a policy by the government then its fine, but the honourable Court can’t do that.”

The Centre through Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs (Notary Cell) has challenged the order passed by the Madras High Court wherein Court after considering the facts and circumstances of the case that the original petitioners are suffering from disabilities stated and held that, “we do not wish to interfere with the ultimate finding, while setting aside the reasoning of the learned Single Judge with respect to the scope and applicability of the provisions of the Act to the case of appointment of Notaries.”

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Thus, Court had allowed the appeal in part with respect to the findings rendered by the learned Single Judge that 4% seat to be reserved for the physically handicapped lawyers based on the scope and applicability of Section 34 of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act but made no comments on the applicability of the Act holding that it will be considered at the appropriate time and ordered not to take this verdict as precedent.

Government of India aggrieved by this order has approached the Apex Court through the present SLP.

After hearing the arguments, the court issued notice returnable on August 6, 2021

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