BEGUM SULTANA RAJIA AND 5 ORS Vs. STATE OF ASSAM AND ORS
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Begum Sultana Rajia And 5 Ors
STATE OF ASSAM AND ORS
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Suman Shyam, J. -
(1.) Heard Mrs. R.S. Choudhury, learned counsel for the petitioners in WP(C) 2954/2012 and Mr. A. Khound, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners in WP(C) 2253/2012 . I have also heard Mr. D. Saikia, learned Senior Additional Advocate General, Assam, appearing for the State and Mr. S. Sarma, learned Standing Counsel, SSA, appearing for the respondent no. 3.
(2.) The facts giving rise to filing of both the writ petitions as projected through the pleadings, briefly stated, are these. The writ petitioners herein are suffering from disability in the form of hearing impairment. Since they were eligible for being considered for appointment in the post of teacher in the LP and ME schools in Assam, the petitioners had taken part in the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) conducted by the Elementary Education Department, Government of Assam, in the year 2011. Responding to the advertisement dated 04/12/2011, the writ petitioners had appeared in the written test for TET and thereafter, emerged as successful candidates. On 14/02/2012, the respondent no. 3 i.e. the Mission Director of Assam Sarba Siksha Abhiyan had issued an advertisement notice inviting online applications in prescribed format from all eligible candidates for filling up the posts of teachers under the SSA Mission on contractual basis to be engaged in the rural areas of Assam. Responding to the advertisement notice dated 14/02/2012, the writ petitioners had submitted their applications. Separate Scrutiny-cum-Interview Committee for selection of candidates was constituted by the authorities for each district and the dates of interview for th respective districts were also notified. Accordingly, the writ petitioners had appeared before the Interview Boards. On completion of the interview process, on 03/04/2012, the respondent no. 3 had issued a notification asking all candidates with physical disability to appear before the State Level Medical Board at Guwahati for physical verification of their Physically Handicapped (PH) status, the nature of disabilities and the degree of such disability. However, as per Clause 'D' of the notice dated 03/04/2012, physically disabled candidates with hearing impairment were excluded from appearing before the Medical Board on the ground that no candidate with hearing impairment can be engaged as Teacher/Assistant Teacher as per the Government norms. As a result of the impugned notification dated 03/04/2012, none of the petitioners were appointed in the post of Assistant Teacher despite the fact that they are TET qualified candidate and had emerged successful in the interview/screening process. Aggrieved by their exclusion from the selection process on the basis of clause 'D' of the notification dated 03/04/2012, the petitioners have approached this court inter-alia assailing the said notification. A prayer has also been made to issue a direction to the respondents to review the posts identified for appointment of PH candidates by taking into account the technological developments.
(3.) Leading the arguments on behalf of the petitioners, Mrs R.S. Choudhury has submitted that as per Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as The Act of 1995), there are 3 categories of disabilities which are entitled to the benefit of reservation of posts and hearing impairment is one such category. Accordingly, the advertisement notice dated 14/02/2012 had also mentioned that posts would be reserved for the Physically Handicapped (PH) candidates as per the government norms. Having done so, the respondents ought not to have ousted one category of physically disabled candidates viz. persons with hearing impairment from the zone of consideration, that too after completion of the interview process. The learned counsel contends that the recourse adopted by the respondents is not only in violation of the fundamental rights of the writ petitioners guaranteed under Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India but the same would also amount to changing the rules of the selection process after the same had been held.;
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