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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Service matter - Section 59 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995= Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and another …. Appellants Versus G. Sarvothaman …. Respondent = published in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=40851

  Service matter - Section  59   of   the   Persons   with   Disabilities   (Equal
 Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act,  1995 the powers of chief commissioner =

whether  the
      Chief Commissioner has got  the  powers  to  order  regularization  of
      promotion and identification of eligible posts  in  a  cadre,  in  the
      Department of erstwhile Telecommunications,  while  exercising  powers
      under  Section  59   of   the   Persons   with   Disabilities   (Equal
      Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act,  1995
      (for short ‘the Act of 1995).  =

  the Chief Commissioner has
      no power under Section 59 of the Act of 1995 to direct  the  inclusion
      of TOA cadre in the  list  of  identified  posts  and  then  to  order
      preparation of reservation register for physically handicapped persons
      and to consider the claim of the respondent for  promotion  under  the
      reserved vacancies for the various Grades under TOA.


      12.   The Chief Commissioner under Section 59 of the Act of  1995  has
      got only the power to examine the matters relating to “deprivation  of
      rights” of persons  with  disabilities.   
The  Commissioner  can  only
      examine whether the persons with disabilities have  been  deprived  of
      any “rights” for which the Commissioner has to first  examine  whether
      the complainant has any “rights” under  the  laws.  
 The  Commissioner
      cannot confer or create any right for the Appellants.  
The  respondent
      could not establish that any right has been conferred on him and  such
      right has been denied to him by the Department.  The Respondent wanted
      conferment of a  right  which  was  extended  only  to  specific  five
      categories of posts on the  basis  of  the  report  of  a  High  Power
      Committee.  
The Chief Commissioner has no power to direct inclusion of
      one more category among the identified categories  and  to  grant  the
      benefit. 
 Under Section 59(b) the Chief Commissioner has got the power
      to look into the complaints with respect to the  matters  relating  to
      non-implementation of laws, rules,  bye-laws,  regulations,  executive
      orders, guidelines or instructions made or issued by  the  appropriate
      Government and the local authorities for the welfare and protection of
      rights or persons with disabilities.  
 It  is  not  the  case  of  the
      respondent that the Department has  failed  to  implement  either  any
      laws, rules  or  regulations.   
The  Respondent  prayed  for  positive
      direction, claiming certain rights, which had not  been  conferred  on
      him either by any law,   regulations  or  orders.   
Consequently,  the
      directions given by the Chief Commissioner for the  inclusion  of  TOA
      cadre among the identified categories  cannot  be  sustained  and  the
      Commissioner  while  passing  such  order  has  exceeded  the   powers
      conferred on him under Section 59 of the Act of 1995.


      13.   We, for the reasons mentioned above, allow this appeal  and  set
      aside the order of the Chief Commissioner, as confirmed  by  the  High
      Court.  There shall be no order as to costs.

                                                              REPORTABLE




                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISIDCITION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8947 OF 2013
              ((Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No.24120 of 2007)




      Bharat Sanchar Nigam
      Limited  and another                               …. Appellants


                                   Versus


      G. Sarvothaman                               …. Respondent




                               J U D G M E N T




      K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.




            Leave granted.


      2.    We are in this case concerned  with  the  question  whether  the
      Chief Commissioner has got  the  powers  to  order  regularization  of
      promotion and identification of eligible posts  in  a  cadre,  in  the
      Department of erstwhile Telecommunications,  while  exercising  powers
      under  Section  59   of   the   Persons   with   Disabilities   (Equal
      Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act,  1995
      (for short ‘the Act of 1995).


      3.    The Respondent  was appointed  as  a  Lower  Division  Clerk  on
      compassionate  ground  in  relaxation  of  normal  recruitment  rules,
      including upper  age  limit  and  typing  test,  in  the  Post  Master
      General’s Office Trivandrum on 23.01.1973 in the PMT Department, which
      was later bifurcated into Departments of Posts and Telecommunications.
        The  Respondent   then  opted  for  Telecommunications   Department.
      Nomenclature  of  posts  of  Lower   Division   Clerk/Upper   Division
      Clerk/Office Superintendent  (LDC/UDC/OS  in  short)  was  changed  as
      Telecom Operating  Assistants  in  the  Telecom  Department.   Telecom
      Office Assistant (TOA in short) Grade-I included LDC/UDC/OS,  Grade-II
      included  Section  supervisors,  Grade-III  included  Senior   Section
      Supervisors, Grade-IV included Chief Section Supervisors.   The  above
      categorization was done w.e.f 09.09.1992.  The  Respondent  was  later
      promoted as ad hoc UDC w.e.f. 1977 and was promoted as UDC on  regular
      basis w.e.f. 04.11.1982 on seniority-cum-fitness quota.  Later he  was
      placed as TOA Grade-II (Section Supervisor)  w.e.f.  09.09.1992.   The
      Respondent  was  again  promoted  as  TOA  Grade-III  (Senior  Section
      Supervisor), w.e.f. 01.07.1999.


      4.    The Respondent then applied for promotion under  the  physically
      handicapped  person’s  quota  after   availing   all   facilities   of
      restructured Cadre on the basis  of  the  OM  No.36035/8/89-Estt.(SCT)
      dated 20.11.1989, which was considered and rejected  by  BSNL  on  the
      ground that no relaxation/reservation  in  promotion  was  permissible
      under schemes for physically handicapped persons as  in  the  case  of
      Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST in short) officials.   Further,
      it was also noticed that the respondent’s appointment  was  not  under
      physically handicapped quota.     The  Respondent,  aggrieved  by  the
      rejection order passed by  the  BSNL  filed  a  complaint  before  the
      Commissioner, praying that he should be given promotion to the post of
      Lower  Selection  Grade   (LSG   in   short)   (Section   Supervisors)
      retrospectively w.e.f. 20.11.1989 and to the upgraded  clerical  posts
      of TOA Grade-III (Senior Section Supervisors) and TOA Grade-IV  (Chief
      Section  Supervisors)  w.e.f.  07.02.1996.   The  Chief   Commissioner
      entertained the  complaint  and  registered  case  No.1109/2001  under
      Section 59 of the Act of 1995.  The Commissioner after hearing parties
      and examining  various  contentions  passed  the  following  order  on
      26.12.2002.  The operative portion of the same reads as under:
           “The respondents are, therefore, directed  to  include  the  TOA
           cadre which is required to do clerical work and other such  jobs
           in  the  list  of  identified  jobs  issued  by  Department   of
           Telecommunications vide their letter  No.1-8/2001/AO(SNG)  dated
           18.10.01 to be inconformity with the  list  of  identified  jobs
           published in the Gazette notification  No.178  dated  30.06.2001
           referred to above.  Upon identification  of  the  cadre  for  PH
           persons, the respondents are directed to  prepare  a  100  point
           reservation register  for  PH  persons  as  required  under  the
           existing   instructions   of   Department   of    Personnel    &
           Training/Department of Telecommunications and  to  consider  the
           claim of the complainant for promotion under reserved  vacancies
           for the grade(s) if he becomes eligible as a PH  person  against
           reserved vacancies.”


      5.    BSNL, aggrieved by  the  above-mentioned  order  approached  the
      Kerala High Court by filing Writ Petition No.30816 of 2003  which  was
      dismissed by a learned  Single  Judge  vide  order  dated  19.02.2007,
      ordering that the benefit of LSG cadre be given to the respondent from
      01.03.1992.  Aggrieved by the same, this appeal has been preferred  by
      special leave.


      6.    The Department of Personnel  and  Training  vide  its  OM  dated
      20.11.1989 introduced reservation in favour of physically  handicapped
      persons in posts filled by promotion in (i) within Group ‘D’ (ii) from
      Group ‘D’ to Grup ‘C’ and (iii) within  Group  ‘C’.   Reservation  was
      provided  for  three   categories    of   persons   namely,   visually
      handicapped, hearing handicapped and orthopedically handicapped.   The
      applicability of reservation was, however, limited  to  the  promotion
      being made to those posts that were identified  as  being  capable  of
      being filled/held  by  these  appropriate  categories  of  handicapped
      persons.  On 09.09.1992, a new cadre was created  under  restructuring
      scheme of erstwhile Department of Telecommunications.   A  choice  was
      given to the employees working in the  clerical stream to opt for  the
      new cadre of TOA or to remain in the clerical cadre.  The posts in the
      clerical cadre became redundant as the majority of the  employees  had
      chosen to join the new cadre  due  to  the  difference  in  pay  scale
      advantageous to them.  Names of cadre and pay scales are  given  below
      for ready reference:
|  |Name of The|Pay scale    |Name of cadre   |Pay scale     |
|  |erst-while |(Rupees)     |under TOA       |(Rupees)      |
|  |cadre      |             |pattern w.e.f.  |              |
|  |           |             |09.09.1992      |              |
|1 |LDC        |950-1400     |TOA-GR-1        |975-1660      |
|2 |UDC        |1200-1800    |TOA GR-II       |1400-2300     |
|  |           |             |[SS(O)]         |              |
|3 |LSG        |1400-2300    |TOA GR-III      |1600-2550     |
|  |           |             |[Sr.SS(O)]      |              |
|4 |OS         |1600-2600    |TOA GR-IV (CSS) |1640-2900     |


     7.     An employee who chose to join the new cadre of TOA cannot revert
     back on his own choice for claiming any financial or promotion  benefit
     in both the  cadres  simultaneously.   The  Respondent  had  opted  for
     restructured cadre of TOA.  Consequently, he was placed as TOA-Grade-II
     (Section Supervisor) w.e.f. 09.09.1992  when  restructured  scheme  was
     implemented on 09.09.1992.


     8.      The  Department  of  Telecommunications  formed  a  High  Power
     Committee for identification of posts in group ‘C’  from  ‘D’  for  the
     purpose of 9% reservation  for  physically  handicapped  persons.   The
     Committee identified 5 cadres,  namely,  JTO,  JAO,  Stenographers,  JE
     (Civil) and JE (Electrical), which was circulated for  compliance  vide
     letter No.226-07/96-STN  dated  12.05.1997.    The  Respondent  in  the
     meanwhile was  promoted as TOA  Grade-III  (Senior  Supervisor)  w.e.f.
     01.07.1999.  He  later  applied  for  promotion  under  the  physically
     handicapped quota after availing of all the facilities of  restructured
     cadre.  In fact, he claimed promotion to the  post  of  LSG  (SS)  with
     retrospective effect w.e.f.20.11.1989 and to the upgraded clerical post
     of TOA Grade-III (Sr. SS) and TOA  Grade-IV  (CSS)  w.e.f.  07.02.1996,
     which was rejected by the Department.


     9.     We notice that the promotion in the physically handicapped quota
     was limited to certain categories of posts as identified  by  the  High
     Powered Committee constituted for the purpose of identification of  the
     cadre.  The High Power  Committee  was  constituted  by  the  erstwhile
     Telecommunication  Department  for  identifying  the  post   to   which
     physically handicapped persons could be promoted under  the  physically
     handicapped reservation quota.  The High Power Committee had identified
     five cadres for promotion and they were  JTO,  JAO,  Stenographers,  JE
     (Civil) and JE (Electrical).  The operative  portion  of  the  Circular
     dated 1.5.1997 reads as follows:
           “Now, it has been decided to have a reservation of 1.5% each for
           partially hearing impaired which can be  improved  with  hearing
           aid and for locomotive disability effecting one leg or limb only
           in the vacancies in the  cadre  of  JTO,  JAO,  JE  (Civil),  JE
           (Electrical) and Stenographers for direct recruitment  quota  as
           well as department quota.”


      10.   We notice that the cadre of clerks was not  identified  for  the
      purpose       of   promotion   under   the   physically    handicapped
      reservations.
Since the  respondent  was  a  TOA,  he  could  not  be
      considered for physically handicapped quota in  Sr.  TOA  cadre.   TOA
      cadre was introduced in the circle office w.e.f.  09.09.1992  and  the
      Respondent had opted for TOA pattern with effect from  the  said  date
      and it was with his own  consent.
Consequently,  the  respondent  was
      working as TOA at the relevant time which was not identified  for  the
      purpose of reservation for physically handicapped  persons  and  hence
      his claim for promotion to Grade-IV could not  be  allowed  since  the
      promotion to the Grade was based on seniority in the basic  cadre  and
      in fact there  was  no  reservation  even  for  SC/ST  candidates  for
      promotion to Grade-IV.


      11.   We are of the view that the Chief Commissioner as  well  as  the
      High Court have failed to appreciate that the respondent  was  working
      in a cadre in which there  was  no  reservation  for  promotion  under
      physically handicapped quota.  
Further exclusion of TOA cadre from the
      promotional post of physically handicapped persons is due to a  policy
      decision of the Government of India taken by the  then  Department  of
      Telecommunications. 
 In such circumstances, the Chief Commissioner has
      no power under Section 59 of the Act of 1995 to direct  the  inclusion
      of TOA cadre in the  list  of  identified  posts  and  then  to  order
      preparation of reservation register for physically handicapped persons
      and to consider the claim of the respondent for  promotion  under  the
      reserved vacancies for the various Grades under TOA.


      12.   The Chief Commissioner under Section 59 of the Act of  1995  has
      got only the power to examine the matters relating to “deprivation  of
      rights” of persons  with  disabilities.   
The  Commissioner  can  only
      examine whether the persons with disabilities have  been  deprived  of
      any “rights” for which the Commissioner has to first  examine  whether
      the complainant has any “rights” under  the  laws.  
 The  Commissioner
      cannot confer or create any right for the Appellants.  
The  respondent
      could not establish that any right has been conferred on him and  such
      right has been denied to him by the Department.  The Respondent wanted
      conferment of a  right  which  was  extended  only  to  specific  five
      categories of posts on the  basis  of  the  report  of  a  High  Power
      Committee.  
The Chief Commissioner has no power to direct inclusion of
      one more category among the identified categories  and  to  grant  the
      benefit. 
 Under Section 59(b) the Chief Commissioner has got the power
      to look into the complaints with respect to the  matters  relating  to
      non-implementation of laws, rules,  bye-laws,  regulations,  executive
      orders, guidelines or instructions made or issued by  the  appropriate
      Government and the local authorities for the welfare and protection of
      rights or persons with disabilities.  
 It  is  not  the  case  of  the
      respondent that the Department has  failed  to  implement  either  any
      laws, rules  or  regulations.   
The  Respondent  prayed  for  positive
      direction, claiming certain rights, which had not  been  conferred  on
      him either by any law,   regulations  or  orders.   
Consequently,  the
      directions given by the Chief Commissioner for the  inclusion  of  TOA
      cadre among the identified categories  cannot  be  sustained  and  the
      Commissioner  while  passing  such  order  has  exceeded  the   powers
      conferred on him under Section 59 of the Act of 1995.


      13.   We, for the reasons mentioned above, allow this appeal  and  set
      aside the order of the Chief Commissioner, as confirmed  by  the  High
      Court.  There shall be no order as to costs.






                                                            ………………………………..J.
                                             (K.S. Radhakrishnan)






                                            …..…………………………….J.
                                            (A.K. Sikri)
      New Delhi,
      October 04, 2013.

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