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Can’t have blanket disability test for reservations in jobs: High Court

A blanket test for all disabled who have applied for government jobs may be “impractical” and a “one size fit all” model may not be the most efficient, Delhi High Court has observed, saying there were over 2.6 crore (rpt 2.6 crore) people in India suffering from a variety of disabilities.

A Bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma were of the view that every disability required a specific aid and came with specific restrictions and the criteria of 40 per cent disability on the Indian Disability Evaluation Assessment (IDEA) scale “cannot be held ideal”.

The court concluded that there were deficiencies in the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act with regard to providing job reservation and 40 per cent criteria for being classified as a person with disability.

“It is the opinion of this court that a blanket 40 per cent disability test to provide reservations in employment may be impracticable. A particular disability suffered by an individual might require specific aid and comes with specific restrictions.

“Hence, it is the opinion of this court that in a country where 26,810,557 individuals suffer from different disabilities, a ‘one size fit all model’ might not be the most efficient. That 40 per cent on IDEA scale makes individuals more or less employable cannot be held ideal,” it said.

“This court, therefore, concludes that there is some deficiency in the existing law, i.e PWD Act, both with respect to providing reservations as well as the classification of all persons with disabilities as one having at least 40 per cent of any specified or enumerated condition, which can well be the reason for ultimate discrimination.

“...the absolute minimum threshold of 40 per cent in the case of certain kinds of disabilities could be the barrier unwitting though the case may be — and eliminate from the post identification exercise persons with such disabilities altogether. This clearly has a discriminatory result, and an indirect discriminatory effect,” the Bench said. 
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