August 22, 2021

Withdraw Notification Granting Exemption From Employment of Disabled

THE Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has vide a Gazette Notification issued on August 18, 2021 exempted certain government establishments from the purview of Section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. This section provides for four per cent reservation in employment in government establishments for persons with benchmark disabilities.

In a statement issued on August 19, the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), noted that the department has misutilised the proviso under the section which grants such exemption: “Provided further that the appropriate Government, in consultation with the Chief Commissioner or the State Commissioner, as the case may be, having regard to the type of work carried out in any Government establishment, by notification and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notifications exempt any Government establishment from the provisions of this section.”

The intent of this proviso however is not to grant a blanket exemption from employing disabled persons but to see that combatant roles or such duties are not assigned to them. And in any case, recruitment is only against identified posts.

Militating against the spirit and intent of the proviso, the notification issued on August 18, 2021 grants exemption to: “all categories of posts under the Indian Police Service; ii. all categories of posts under the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Police Service; and iii. all categories of posts under the Indian Railway Protection Force Service.” This is unacceptable.

This is even more shocking given the fact that the Delhi Police had in October 2019 advertised for “Head Constable (Ministerial) giving reservations for persons with disabilities.

Surprisingly, in another notification issued the same day, August 18, pertaining to Central Armed Police Forces, namely, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Sashastra Seema Bal and Assam Rifles, exemption is confined only to “all categories of posts of combatant personnel”.

Implicit in the second notification as also the earlier Delhi Police advertisement is the acknowledgement that persons with disabilities can be recruited and deputed in non-combatant roles.

The NPRD therefore demands the withdrawal of the first notification. Exemptions should be granted only in cases of “combatant roles” in keeping with the intent and spirit of the proviso under Section 34 of the RPD Act. It is regrettable that a department that is supposed to safeguard the rights of the disabled and empower them, is doing just the opposite.