• August 28, 2018, 3:06 pm


In a significant judgment, the Madras High Court has observed that the plea of an engineer suffering from Writer’s Cramp (a neurological disorder that affects fingers, hand or forearm) to engage a scribe for the Civil Services examinations should be considered pragmatically in the light of beneficial legislations applicable to the physically challenged.

A writ petition filed by P. Gokul Kaleeswaran, who sought a direction to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to engage scribes .

What’s the issue?

UPSC has permitted to engage scribes in case of visually challenged candidates but for persons suffering from Writer’s Cramp,there is no option left other than to wirte by themselves.

Writers cramp : (a neurological disorder that affects fingers, hand or forearm)

Hence candidates like him would not be able to write examinations at a stretch for three hours.He claimed the refusal to permit scribes for such candidates was in violation of the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995 as well as the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016.

Administrative Tribunals

The enactment of Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985 opened a new chapter in the sphere of administering justice to the aggrieved government servants.

Administrative Tribunals Act owes its origin to Article 323-A of the Constitution which empowers Central Government to set-up by an Act of Parliament, Administrative Tribunals for adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the public service and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union and the States.

In pursuance of the provisions contained in the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, the Administrative Tribunals set-up under it exercise original jurisdiction in respect of service matters of employees covered by it.

As a result of the judgement dated 18 March 1997 of the Supreme Court, the appeals against the orders of an Administrative Tribunal shall lie before the Division Bench of the concerned High Court.


The Administrative Tribunals exercise jurisdiction only in relation to the service matters of the litigants covered by the Act. The procedural simplicity of the Act can be appreciated from the fact that the aggrieved person can also appear before it personally. The Government can present its case through its departmental officers or legal practitioners. Thus, the objective of the Tribunal is to provide for speedy and inexpensive justice to the litigants.

Division bench ruling

Based on the above provision,the Division Bench held that they would not be able to grant the relief sought for by the candidate since all service related matters, including those covering pre-service issues such as examinations conducted for recruitment, should, at the first instance, be raised before the administrative tribunals constituted for such a purpose before filing a writ petition in the High Court.

Though the bench pointed out that an application preferred by Mr. Kaleeswaran last year, seeking the assistance of a scribe for writing the November 2017 examinations, was still pending before a tribunal in Chennai.

However, pendency of the said Original Application would not disentitle the petitioner from seeking appropriate relief if any application is filed for the latter period.

Rights of persons with disability act 2016

The salient features of the Bill are:

  1. Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  2. The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities. The 21 disabilities are given
  3. Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time. Acid Attack Victims have been included. Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy have has been indicated as separate class of specified disability. The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.
  4. In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
  5. Responsibility has been cast upon the appropriate governments to take effective measures to ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
  6. Additional benefits such as reservation in higher education, government jobs, reservation in allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
  7. Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
  8. Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities.
  9. For strengthening the Prime Minister's Accessible India Campaign, stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.
  10. Reservation in vacancies in government establishments has been increased from 3% to 4% for certain persons or class of persons with benchmark disability.
  11. The Bill provides for grant of guardianship by District Court under which there will be joint decision – making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities.
  12. Broad based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability are to be set up to serve as apex policy making bodies at the Central and State level.
  13. Office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities has been strengthened who will now be assisted by 2 Commissioners and an Advisory Committee comprising of not more than 11 members drawn from experts in various disabilities.
  14. Similarly, the office of State Commissioners of Disabilities has been strengthened who will be assisted by an Advisory Committee comprising of not more than 5 members drawn from experts in various disabilities.
  15. The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies and also monitor implementation of the Act.
  16. District level committees will be constituted by the State Governments to address local concerns of PwDs. Details of their constitution and the functions of such committees would be prescribed by the State Governments in the rules.
  17. Creation of National and State Fund will be created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities. The existing National Fund for Persons with Disabilities and the Trust Fund for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities will be subsumed with the National Fund.
  18. The Bill provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and also violation of the provisions of the new law.
  19. Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.

3.         The New Act will bring our law in line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory. This will fulfill the obligations on the part of India in terms of UNCRD. Further, the new law will not only enhance the Rights and Entitlements of Divyangjan but also provide effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and true inclusion into the Society in a satisfactory manner.