The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Union of India to issue instruction as soon as possible and not later than four months, in accordance with Article 34 of the of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 for providing reservation in promotions to people with disabilities.
The proviso reads as follows, “Provided that the reservation in promotion shall be in accordance with the instructions issued by the appropriate Government from time to time”.
The order was issued in a misc. petition filed by the Central Government seeking clarification regarding its decision in Siddaraju vs State of Karnataka which stipulated that people with disabilities have the right to reservation in promotions.
The Court said there was no ambiguity in the decision and ordered the centre to issue directives in terms of proviso to Section 34 of the 2016 Act to implement reservation in the promotion of people with disabilities.
A bench comprising of judges L Nageswara Rao, B.G.Gavai and Sanjiv Khanna, On Tuesday, was hearing arguments from Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan on behalf of the central government and Advocate Rajan Mani appearing on behalf of some of the party respondents. During the previous hearing, the Court heard arguments from Chief Advocate Jayna Kothari who argued that the Center sought to rectify the effects of the verdicts under the guise of seeking clarification.
Advocate Rajan Mani pointed out that eventhough it has been 5 years since the Act came into force; still no instructions have been issued in terms of proviso to Section 34 of the PWD Act, 2016. He said that the implementation of reservation is being delayed because no instructions have yet been issued as required by section 34 of the Act. He also pointed out that the current miscellaneous request for clarification was nothing but another attempt to dilute the judgment.
In view of Advocate Rajan Mani’s submission that it has been 5 years since the Act came into effect and no directives have been issued, Judge L. Nageswara Rao asked the ASG if the centre had issued any instructions or directives for implementation of reservation in promotions in terms of proviso of Section 34 of the Act.
Responding to a question from Justice Nageswara Rao, the ASG Madhavi Divan responded that no such directive for reservation in promotions has yet been issued by the centre. The ASG has indicated that the instructions that were to be issued in accordance with Section 34 of the PWD Act, 2016 could not be issued due to certain necessary clarifications. She stated that “the reason we want clarification is so that our instructions do not become vulnerable.” The ASG also emphasized on the need to consider the principles of merit, adequacy and efficiency of representation before extending the benefit of reservation across the board. The ASG had previously argued about the widespread application of reservation in practical issues.
After the trial, the bench observed that it had not found any reasons to provide any clarifications as sought by the Union.
The Bench, while rejecting the miscellaneous application, noted that the court didn’t see any ambiguity in the judgments given in decision such as Siddaraju, Rajeev Kumar Gupta & Others vs Union of India (2016) 6 SCALE 417 and National Federation of the Blind Vs. Sanjay Kothari, Secy. Deptt. of Personnel and Training, 2015. By dismissing the Misc application, the bench ordered the Central Government to issue instructions as given under S. 34 of PWD Act, 2016 within 4 months from the date of the order.