New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from the Centre and the UPSC on a PIL seeking quashing of the notice for civil service preliminaries and an interim stay on the declaration of results on the ground that not enough seats have been reserved for those with visual and multiple disabilities. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Ministry of Social Justice, Department of Personnel and Training and the Union Public Service Commission seeking their stand on the plea by a disability rights organisation that seats have not been reserved in accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act of 2016. Evara Foundation urged the bench to put on hold the declaration of the results but the court did not accede to the request, saying the UPSC will be asked to recompute its result if the final order goes in their favour.
A similar plea was raised by another organisation, Sambhavana, through an application seeking early hearing of its main petition challenging the examination notice. Sambhavana, represented by advocates Krishan Mahajan and Ajay Chopra, claimed in its petition that the notice neglects the minimum reservation to be provided to disabled persons and urged the bench that the results not be declared till its plea is decided.
The bench declined to entertain the application, saying the civil services main examination was scheduled to commence from January and the next date of hearing was in November. Evara Foundation, represented by advocates Pankaj Sinha, Kamlesh K Mishra and Anurag Ojha, has contended that due to inadequate number of advertised vacancies for visually impaired and those with multiple disabilities, fewer candidates belonging to these two categories will qualify for the main examination.
It lso contended that the number of seats reserved for visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing and locomotor disabilities is not in accordance with the RPWD Act. The foundation sought a direction to the UPSC and the Centre to "amend the impugned notification by earmarking not less than 8 seats for blind/low vision and multiple disabilities category each in the impugned notification".
It also sought "equal bifurcation ofthe vacancies (meant for disabled) among the categories of persons with disabilities minimum one percent each in terms of law". Besides, it sought directions to the UPSC and Centre to fill all the backlog vacancies of persons with disabilities from 1996 till date.
The plea by NGO Sambhavana has alleged that in the exam notice only expected approximate vacancies for the disabled are mentioned and not the four per cent mandatory reservation mandated under the law. Sambhavana said in its plea that the UPSC exam notice only mentions "expected approximate vacancies", a category that does not exist under the law.
The NGO also claimed that there is a mathematical error in calculating the 4 per cent reservation in the expected vacancies numbering 796. It said 4 per cent reservation of 796 would come to 31.8 or 32 vacancies, whereas according to the notice the number is 24.
According to the petition, even the subsequent distribution of the vacancies at the rate of one per cent per category of disability — deaf, blind, locomotor and multiple disabilities — is not mathematically accurate.