NEW DELHI: Employment opportunities to differently-abled persons should be provided as a matter of right and not on sympathetic considerations, the Supreme Court has said.
The observation by a bench of justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna came while setting aside an order of the Rajasthan High Court, directing its administrative side to consider the candidature of an aspirant for appointment to the post of civil judge, which was reserved for differently-abled candidates.
The aspirant, Neetu Harsh, who was visually-impaired, had indicated herself as a "General" candidate in her application.
On being declared successful, she appeared for the main examination and thereafter, participated in the interview as a general category candidate, without placing reliance on her disability certificate.
When the marks obtained by all the candidates were disclosed, it came to light that Harsh had scored 136 marks and was placed at Serial No.137.
As against the two vacancies for differently-abled persons, another applicant, who had obtained 138 marks, was at Serial No.57.
Subsequently, Harsh made a representation with a request to consider her candidature under the category of differently-abled persons.
The representation was, however, rejected on the ground that her candidature under the category of differently-abled persons could not be accepted.
Harsh then moved the high court, challenging the decision and seeking a direction for consideration of her request.
The high court was of the view that even though a mistake was committed by the candidate, the representation submitted by her subsequently ought to have been considered sympathetically.
The top court, however, said, "It is no doubt true that employment opportunities to differently-abled persons are to be provided as a matter of right when a case is made out and there is no need for sympathetic consideration.
"However, in the instant facts, when the claim was not made and there are debatable issues, though we could empathise with the cause of the private respondent, the nature of direction issued by the high court in any event cannot be considered as justified.