CHENNAI: The country has millions of people with diabetes and there is no scientific basis that a diabetic will not be able to discharge duties, the Madras High Court said while rejecting an appeal moved by Southern Railway.
“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,” a division bench of Justices V Ramasubramanian and T Mathivanan said.
The appeal pertains to a notification issued by the Dy Chief Personnel Officer on November 24, 2007 to fill up 3,698 Group ‘D’ posts in SR and in Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai. The respondent Pushpam was one of the 58 declared medically unfit for the post. Even after a medical re-examination, the Southern Railway opined in 2012 that she was unfit for employment in the category. Aggrieved, Puspham moved the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) Madurai Bench, which allowed her application following a decision by the High Court in 2013, prompting the SR to file an appeal before the High Court challenging the CAT’s decision.
When the appeal came up for hearing, the bench 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.”
Pointing out that India has come to be considered as the diabetic capital of the world, the bench added, “probably due to the concerted efforts taken in the past five decades by the food, fertiliser, pharmaceutical and beverage industries.”
Also pointing out a report by the Indian Diabetes Research Foundation that stated 40.9 million Indians are diabetic they said, “therefore, it is not possible to accept that they are unemployable, or that if employed, they would become a liability on the employer.”
Further, the bench directed SR to appoint the respondent in eight weeks.