The court directed the UPSC to consider the number of seats for disabled candidates as 39 out of the total 1,291 vacancies, instead of 26 notified for the exam. At 3% reservation, the figure would be 39, not 26, the court said, adding it has to be 1% for blind persons or persons with low vision, 1% for persons with locomotor disability or cerebral palsy, and 1% for persons with hearing impairment.
In other words, each category is entitled to have a reservation of 13 vacancies, so the total vacancies reserved for persons with disability should be 39, a bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak said in its order on August 19.
Sujit Shinde and another visually impaired candidate had filed a writ petition challenging a May 31 notification by UPSC for the preliminary exam that provided for 26 out of 1,291 vacancies as reserved for the disabled. The petitioners had argued that this was in breach of Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The court also directed the UPSC to allow candidates who engage services of scribes an additional 20 minutes per hour, instead of the 10 minutes per hour provided in the exam notification. There shall also be no restriction on the educational qualification of scribes.
The high court relied on the February 26, 2013 guidelines issued by the ministry of social justice's department of disability affairs, besides the Supreme Court verdict in the National Federation of the Blind case while issuing these directives.
The petitioners had contended that the UPSC advertisement for the 2014 civil services exam had put restrictions on qualification of scribes engaged by visually impaired candidates and had provided for only 10 minutes per hour of extra time. The UPSC had said the scribe's qualification should not be higher than graduation. "Both these provisions were in breach of the department of disability affair's guidelines," they argued.
Source : TOI , 24th August 2014