CHENNAI: Making it clear that a diabetic is eligible for appointment in government posts as there is no scientific proof to show such a person would not be able to discharge his duties, the Madras High Court has directed Southern Railways to appoint an applicant within eight weeks.
A division bench comprising justices V Ramasubramanian and T Mathivanan gave the direction while dismissing a petition by Chief Personal Officer of Southern Railway, denying appointment to a woman on the ground that she was a diabetic. "In the absence of any scientific evidence to show that a diabetic will not be able to discharge the duties of office, it is not possible to accept the stand taken by the authorities," the judges said.
The bench said this was especially in view of the fact that India has become the world's diabetic capital, "probably due to the concerted efforts taken in the past five decades by the food, fertiliser, pharmaceutical and beverage industries." The court pointed out that a global report by the Indian Diabetes Research Foundation had stated that 40.9 million Indians are diabetic. "Therefore, it is not possible to accept that they are unemployable or that if employed, they would become a liability on the employer."
Railways had challenged the order Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench, directing it to appoint a woman candidate Pushpam to a suitable Grade D post in 12 weeks. On November 24, 2007, the Deputy Chief Personnel Officer had issued a notification to fill up 3698 Group 'D' posts in SR and in Integral Coach Factory, Chennai.
Pushpam was one among 58 candidates declared medically unfit. She then filed an appeal for a medical re-examination, which was done. But Railways in a July 2 2012 certificate opined that she was unfit for employment in A2 category. She then moved the CAT, which allowed her application following a decision by the High Court in 2013.
The Railways then filed a petition against the HC order. The bench, while dismissing Railways' petition, reminded it of the earlier order where mention had been made of India being the diabetic capital of the world and that diabetes was more of a disorder than a disease.
Rejecting the view that diabetes may be the cause of future complications, it said Railways has nowhere contended that complications had arisen as a result of her diabetes, but only that her condition was likely to give rise to problems. The bench dealt with WHO reports on diabetics and rejected the contention that Pushpam was not eligible for appointment and directed Railways to issue appointment to her in eight weeks.