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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Deaf & Dumb persons - transport allowance on par with other Blind & Orthopedically handicapped government employees - writ for directions to Governments of central and state - Apex court allowed the same = Deaf Employees Welfare Association & Another .. Petitioners Versus Union of India & Others .. Respondents = Published in / Cited in / Report in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41072

  Deaf & Dumb persons - transport allowance on par with other Blind & Orthopedically handicapped government employees - writ for directions to Governments of central and state - Apex court allowed the same =   

This  Writ  Petition  has  been   preferred   by   two   Associations
representing the Deaf and Dumb persons seeking a Writ of Mandamus  directing
the Central and State  Governments  to  grant  transport  allowance  to  its
government employees suffering from hearing impairment in  equal  with  that
is  being  given  to  blinds  and  orthopedically   handicapped   government
employees and also for further consequential reliefs  =

  The deaf and dumb persons have an inherent dignity and the  right  to
have their dignity respected and protected is the obligation on the  State.
 Human dignity of a deaf and  dumb  person  is  harmed  when  he  is  being
marginalized, ignored or devalued on the ground that the disability that he
suffers is less than a visually impaired person which, in our view, clearly
violates  Article  21  of  the  Constitution  of  India.    
Comparison   of
disabilities among “persons of disabilities”, without any  rational  basis,
is clearly violative of Articles 14 of the Constitution of India.   
In  our
view, the recommendation made by the Ministry of Health and Family  Welfare
for  extending  the  benefit  of  transport  allowance  to  the  Government
employees suffering from  hearing  impairment  in  equal  with  blinds  and
orthopaedically handicapped Government employees is perfectly legal and  is
in consonance with Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.


23.   Under such circumstances, we are inclined to allow this writ petition
and direct the Respondents to grant transport allowance to  deaf  and  dumb
persons also on par with blinds and orthopaedically  handicapped  employees
of Central and the State Governments and other establishments wherever such
benefits have been extended to the blinds and  orthopaedically  handicapped
employees.  Ordered accordingly.
                                              

      REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         ORDINARY CIVIL JURISDICTION
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 107 OF 2011

Deaf Employees Welfare Association &
Another                                      .. Petitioners


                                   Versus


Union of India & Others                      .. Respondents




                               J U D G M E N T


K. S. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.


1.     This  Writ  Petition  has  been   preferred   by   two   Associations
representing the Deaf and Dumb persons seeking a Writ of Mandamus  directing
the Central and State  Governments  to  grant  transport  allowance  to  its
government employees suffering from hearing impairment in  equal  with  that
is  being  given  to  blinds  and  orthopedically   handicapped   government
employees and also for further consequential reliefs.

2.     The  Ministry  of  Finance,  Government  of  India  vide  its  Office
Memorandum (for short ‘OM’) dated 31.8.1978 permitted  conveyance  allowance
to the employees of the Central Government borne  or  regular  establishment
who  are  disabled,  namely  blind  and  orthopedically  handicapped,   with
disability of lower extremities.  The Government of India, later,  vide  its
OM of Ministry  of  Finance,  Department  of  Expenditure  dated  16.4.1987,
consequent upon the  introduction  of  C.C.S.  (Revised  Pay)  Rules,  1986,
revised the rate of Conveyance allowance to disabled persons,  namely  blind
and orthopedically handicapped to 5% of the basic pay, subject to a  maximum
of Rs.100/- per month.

3.    The Ministry of  Finance,  Government  of  India  vide  its  OM  dated
3.10.1997, in accordance with the recommendations of  the  5th  Central  Pay
Commission  abolished  the  Conveyance  Allowance  granted  vide  OM   dated
31.8.1978 and, instead, replaced it by transport allowance  to  be  paid  to
blind and orthopedically handicapped employees at double  the  normal  rates
prescribed under the said OM dated 3.10.1997.

4.    The Deaf and Dumb Association submitted several representations  after
coming into  force  the  Persons  with  Disabilities  (Equal  Opportunities,
Protection of Rights and Full  Participation)  Act,  1995  (for  short  ‘The
Disabilities Act”) for extending the  benefits  of  transport  allowance  to
them also.  Their representation was considered by the  Ministry  of  Health
and Family Welfare, Department  of  Health  and  they  issued  an  OM  dated
12.5.2003, which reads as follows:
      “                      OFFICE MEMORANDUM


      Subject:   Grant of Conveyance Allowance to Blind and  Orthopaedically
                Handicapped Central Government employees – regarding.


           The undersigned is directed to refer to Ministry of  Finance  UO
      No. 21(1)/97-E.II(B) dated 17th July 2002  on  the  subject  mentioned
      above and to state that the matter was examined in  consultation  with
      the  subject  experts  and  the  Ministry  of   Social   Justice   and
      Empowerment.  While the technical experts believed that the  deaf  and
      dumb generally do not require physical assistance for commuting to and
      fro from their place of residence to their place of duty, the Ministry
      of Social Justice and  Empowerment  strongly  favoured  the  grant  of
      conveyance allowance  to  deaf  and  dumb  employees  of  the  Central
      Government.


           In the final view, it is recommended that it would not  be  just
      and fair to equate the disability of deaf and dumb persons with  those
      of  blind  persons  in  so  far  as  transport  allowance/facility  is
      concerned.


                                                                        Sd/-
                                Deputy Secretary to the Government of India”




5.    The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways also sent a  proposal  to
the Ministry of Finance to grant transport allowance at enhanced rates  for
hearing handicapped persons at par with the blind  persons.    Ministry  of
Road Transport and Highways also held a meeting on 2.3.2006  for  examining
the case for grant of conveyance allowance to the deaf and  dumb  employees
of the Central Government and recommended for grant of conveyance allowance
to them as well.   The request was considered by the Ministry  of  Finance,
Department of Expenditure and, vide OM dated  26.6.2006,  it  directed  the
Ministry of Finance to clarify the contradictory stand  earlier  taken  and
requested them to forward their final view.   The Ministry  of  Health  and
Family Welfare again examined  the  issue  and  recommended  for  transport
allowance at enhanced rates for Hearing Handicapped persons on a  par  with
the blind persons.  The OM dated 26.6.2006 reads as follows:
      “                OFFICE MEMORANDUM
      Subject:    Grant of Transport Allowance at enhanced rate for  Hearing
                 Handicapped persons at par with blind persons.


            The undersigned is directed to refer to Ministry of  Finance  OM
      No. 21(1)/97-E.II(B) dated 13th June 2006  on  the  subject  mentioned
      above and to state that the matter was got re-examined by the Ministry
      by a committee of specialists in the area, which recommended the grant
      of special transport allowance at enhanced rate  to  hearing  impaired
      personnel in view of the following reasons:-


           1) The disability conditions brought about  by  nature  are  the
              same for all  disabled.   Society  and  the  people  have  to
              appreciate it and support them.


           2) For any transportation system audio  based  signaling  system
              would always be different for hearing impaired.  They require
              special assistance.


           The Ministry of Health & Family  Welfare,  therefore,  recommend
      grant of special transport allowance  at  enhanced  rate  for  Hearing
      Handicapped.


           The proposal has been seen & approved by Secretary (H&FW).




                                                                        Sd/-
                                 Under Secretary to the Government of India”




6.    The Ministry of Finance,  however,  vide  its  OM  dated  30.11.2006
advised the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to refer  the  issue  to
the 6th Central Pay Commission  for  getting  their  recommendation.   The
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, however, did not take up the matter
with the 6th Central Pay Commission.    The  6th  Central  Pay  Commission
recommended that physically disabled employees shall continue to draw  the
allowance at double the normal rates.  Following that, Ministry of Finance
issued an OM dated 29.8.2008 stipulating that the blind or  orthopedically
handicapped employees, in terms of Ministry of  Finance’s  order  vide  OM
dated 3.10.1997, shall continue to draw the allowance at double the normal
rates.  The Ministry of Social Justice and  Empowerment  again  approached
the Ministry of Finance in February 2013 requesting to consider the  issue
of grant of double transport allowance to hearing  handicapped  employees.
OM dated 22.3.2013 issued by the Ministry of  Health  and  Family  Welfare
reads as follows:








      “                Office Memorandum
      Subject:    Request to sanction  the  transport  allowance  at  double
                 rates to  Deaf  Central  Government  Employees  in  various
                 Central Government Offices – reg..


            The undersigned is directed to say  that  a  representation  has
      been received from Shri  S.  Murugan,  General  Secretary,  All  India
      Central Government  Deaf Employees Association, Secundrabad (A0) (copy
      enclosed) regarding revision of transport allowance at double rate  to
      deaf employees working under the Central Government Offices/workshops.


      2.    The matter was considered in this Ministry and recommended  that
      as the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities,  Protection  of
      Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, lists  ‘hearing  impairment’
      as  disability,  therefore,  all  officials   who   are   deaf/hearing
      impairment with hearing loss of 60 decibels or more in the better ear,
      working under Central Government Offices may also be made eligible for
      transport allowance at double the normal rate as  has  been  given  to
      loco-motor disabled and visual disabled (Blind) employees.


      3.    Accordingly, it is requested to issue specific  instructions  to
      include  hearing  impaired  employees  for  extending   of   transport
      allowance at double rate as covered under the provisions of para  2(i)
      of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities,  Protection  of
      Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.


            This issues with the approval of Secretary (H&FW).


                                                                        Sd/-
                                Under Secretary to the Government of India.”




7.    The Ministry of Finance again considered the request of the Ministry
of Health and Family Welfare on 2.7.2013 and did not take any action,  but
sought for clarification by the Ministry of  Health  and  Family  Welfare.
The Ministry of  Health  and  Family  Welfare  then  issued  an  OM  dated
27.9.2013 and again recommended for the transport allowance at double  the
normal rates as is being given to the  loco-motor  disabled  and  visually
disabled (Blind) employees on the following grounds:
        i) The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities,  Protection
           of Rights and Full Participation)  Act,  1995,  lists  “hearing
           impairment” (loss of 60 decibels or more in the better  ear  in
           the conversational range of frequencies) as disability.


       ii) Travelling risk for deaf/hearing impaired employees is as  much
           as with other disability.



      iii) Hearing impaired persons cannot communicate to bus  conductors,
           auto and taxi drivers as a normal person can do.



       iv) Time and effort required to reach destination  is  considerably
           more as compared to normal persons.



        v)  Hearing  impaired  persons  end  up  spending  more  money  in
           travelling as compared to normal persons.



8.    We notice that, in spite of the recommendation made by  the  Ministry
of  Health  and  Family  Welfare,  Ministry  of  Finance,   Department   of
Expenditure struck to their earlier stand and pointed out  that  since  the
Government has already constituted 7th Central Pay Commission, it would  be
appropriate that the said Pay Commission would examine the  claim  made  by
the Deaf and Dumb persons and, hence, this writ petition.


9.    Pleas made by the deaf and dumb persons, it may be noticed, fell into
deaf ears in all these years, while their claim has to be considered  in  a
dispassionate manner with a human touch, especially  in  the  wake  of  the
Disabilities Act and on the basis of the various international Conventions,
to which India is a party. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia  and
the Pacific (ESCAP) in a meeting in December 1992 in Beijing, declared  the
period 1993-2000 as the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons.  Even
before that, it is pertinent to note, that Ministry of Finance,  Government
of India had, vide its order dated 31.8.1978,  accorded  its  sanction  for
granting conveyance allowance to employees of the Central  Government borne
on regular establishment who were disabled, namely blind and orthopedically
handicapped  persons.   India  is  a  signatory  to  the  above   mentioned
Convention.  Being a signatory to that Convention, it was obligatory on the
part of India to enact  a  suitable  legislation  to  give  effect  to  the
Convention.   Accordingly, the Disabilities Act, 1995 was enacted.

10.   We may, in this regard, refer to the “UN Convention on Protection and
Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons  with  Disabilities”,  2008.
India is a signatory  to  that  Convention  as  well.   Article  2  of  the
Convention reads as follows:

           "Discrimination  on  the  basis   of   disability"   means   any
      distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which
      has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the  recognition,
      enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with  others,  of  all  human
      rights and fundamental freedoms in the  political,  economic,  social,
      cultural,  civil  or  any  other  field.  It  includes  all  forms  of
      discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation;


           "Reasonable  accommodation"  means  necessary  and   appropriate
      modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or  undue
      burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to  persons  with
      disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis  with  others
      of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”


11.   We have already indicated that India  is  a  signatory  to  both  the
Conventions, i.e. the Beijing Convention, 1992 and UN Convention, 2008.  We
have to understand the scope of the Disabilities Act in the  light  of  the
above mentioned Conventions.


12.   The Disabilities Act does not create any  barrier  or  discrimination
among persons with disabilities.  Sections 2(i) and (l) of the Disabilities
Act  defines  the  expressions  ‘disability’   and   ‘hearing   impairment’
respectively, which read as follows:


      “2(i). “disability” means-


              i) blindness;
             ii) low vision;
            iii) leprosy-cured;
             iv) hearing impairment;
              v) locomotor disability;
             vi) mental retardation;
            vii) mental illness.


      2(l). “Hearing impairment” means loss of sixty decibels or more in the
      better ear in the conversational range of frequencies.”


Section 2(o) defines “locomotor disability” which reads as follows:


      “(o) “locomotor disability” means disability of the bones,  joints  or
      muscles leading to substantial restriction  of  the  movement  of  the
      limbs or any form of cerebral palsy.”


Section 2(b) defines the expression “blindness” as follows:


      “(b)  “blindness” refers to a condition where a  person  suffers  from
      any of the following conditions, namely:-


           i) total absence of sight; or
          ii) visual acuity not exceeding 6/60 or 20/200 (snellen)  in  the
              better eye with correcting lenses; or
         iii) limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle  of  20
              degree or worse.”


Section 2(t) of the Act defines ‘person with disability”,  which  reads  as
follows:


      “(t) “Person with disability” means a person suffering from  not  less
      than forty per cent of  any  disability  as  certified  by  a  medical
      authority.”


13.   Chapter V of the Act provides for  the  appropriate  Governments  and
local authorities to provide children  with  disabilities  free  education,
makes schemes and programmes for non-formal education etc.     Chapter  VII
of the Act deals with the  reservation  of  posts  for  the  “persons  with
disabilities”.   Section  32  of  the  Act  states  that  the   appropriate
Government shall identify posts in the establishments which can be reserved
for the  persons  with  disabilities  and  also  periodical  intervals  not
exceeding three years, review the list of posts identified and up-date  the
list taking into consideration the developments in technology.  Section  33
of the Act deals with the ‘Reservation of Posts’.  Section 38  of  the  Act
provides that the appropriate Government and local  authorities  shall,  by
notification, formulate schemes for ensuring  employment  of  persons  with
disabilities.    Section  39  provides  for  all   government   educational
institutions to reserve seats for persons with disabilities.


14.   Chapter VII deals with “Affirmative Action”.  Section 42 of  the  Act
says that the appropriate Governments shall, by notification, make  schemes
to provide aids and appliances to persons with  disabilities.   Section  43
deals with the “Schemes for preferential  allotment  of  land  for  certain
purposes” and reads as follows:


      “43.  Schemes for preferential allotment of land for certain purposes.-
         The  appropriate  Governments  and  local  authorities   shall   by
      notification frame schemes in favour of persons with disabilities, for
      the preferential allotment of land at concessional rates of –


              a) house;
              b) setting up business;
              c) setting up of special recreation centres;
              d) establishment of special schools;
              e) establishment of research centres;
              f)  establishment   of   factories   by   entrepreneurs   with
                 disabilities.”


15.   Chapter VIII of the Disabilities Act deals with “Non-Discrimination”.
 Section 44 of the Act deals with the  ‘Non-discrimination  in  transport’,
which reads as follows:


      “44.   Non-discrimination  in  transport.-   Establishments   in   the
      transport sector shall, within the limits of their  economic  capacity
      and development for the benefit of  persons  with  disabilities,  take
      special measures to –


              a) adapt rail compartments, buses, vessels  and  aircrafts  in
                 such a way as to permit easy access to such persons;
              b) adapt toilets in rail compartments, vessels, aircrafts  and
                 waiting rooms in such a way as to permit  the  wheel  chair
                 users to use them conveniently.”


16.   Sections 45, 46 and 47 of the Disabilities  Act  are  also  relevant,
which reads as follows:

      “45.  Non-discrimination on the road.- The appropriate Governments and
      the local authorities shall,  within  the  limits  of  their  economic
      capacity and development, provide for –


           a) installation of auditory signals at red lights in the  public
              roads for the benefit of persons with visually handicap;
           b) causing curb cuts and slopes to be made in pavements  for  an
              easy access of wheel chair users;
           c) engraving on the surface of the zebra crossing for the  blind
              or for persons with low vision;
           d) engraving on the edge of railway platforms for the blinds  or
              for persons with low vision;
           e) devising appropriate symbols of disability;
           f) warning signals at appropriate places.


      46. Non-discrimination in  the  built  environment.-  The  appropriate
      Governments and the local authorities  shall,  within  the  limits  of
      their economic capacity and development, provide for-


           a) ramps in public buildings;
           b) adaptation of toilets for wheel chair users;
           c) Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts;
           d) Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other  medical
              care and rehabilitation institutions.

       47. Non-discrimination in government employment.—(1) No establishment
      shall dispense with, or reduce in rank, an  employee  who  acquires  a
      disability during his service:
        Provided that, if an employee, after acquiring  disability  is  not
      suitable for the post he was holding, could be shifted to  some  other
      post with the same pay scale and service benefits:
        Provided further that if it is not possible to adjust the  employee
      against any post, he may be kept  on  a  supernumerary  post  until  a
      suitable post is available or he attains the  age  of  superannuation,
      whichever is earlier.


        (2) No promotion shall be denied to a person merely on  the  ground
      of his disability:
        Provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to  the
      type of work carried on in  any  establishment,  by  notification  and
      subject to such conditions, if  any,  as  may  be  specified  in  such
      notification, exempt any establishment from  the  provisions  of  this
      section.”



17.   Chapter XIII deals with “Social Security”.  Section 68 deals with the
‘Unemployment allowance’, which reads as under:


      “68.  Unemployment  allowance.-   The  appropriate  Governments  shall
      within the limits of their economic capacity and development shall  by
      notification frame a scheme for payment of an  unemployment  allowance
      to persons with disabilities registered with  the  Special  Employment
      Exchange for more than two years and who could not be  placed  in  any
      gainful occupation.”


18.   The Disabilities Act, as already indicated, states that the  “persons
with disabilities” means persons suffering from not less than 40%  of  “any
disability”, as certified by the medical doctor.  When a person  is  having
any of the disabilities mentioned in Section 2(i) and is  so  certified  by
the Medical Doctor, he is entitled to the benefits of all the  Schemes  and
benefits  provided  by  the  Government  and  there  can  be   no   further
discrimination  among  the  persons  with  varied  or  different  types  of
disabilities.  In the matter of affirmative  action,  in  our  view,  there
cannot be further  discrimination  between  a  person  with  disability  of
‘blindness’ and a person with disability  of  ‘hearing  impairment’.   Such
discrimination has not been envisaged under the Disabilities Act.  All  the
categories  of  persons  mentioned  in  Section   2(i)   have   their   own
disadvantages, peculiar to themselves. A ‘visually impaired person’  cannot
be equated with ‘hearing  impaired  person’  and  vice  versa.   Both  have
different type and mode of disability.  For a blind person, visibility  may
be poor, sometimes zero per cent, but would be able to hear and  understand
what is going on in and around him.  At the same  time,  a  deaf  and  dumb
person could see, but would not be able to talk and hear what is  going  on
around him.  The nature of disability of those categories  of  persons  may
not be same, but the disabilities they suffer are to be addressed with care
and compassion.


19.   Ministry of Finance, Government  of  India,  took  the  view  that  a
visually impaired person cannot be equated  with  hearing  impaired  person
since persons who are deaf and dumb are not physically dependent on  others
for commuting from one place to another, hence they  are  not  entitled  to
double rate of transport allowance.  The view expressed by the Ministry  of
Finance, in spite of the recommendations made by the Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare, for not providing transport  allowance  to  its  Government
employees suffering from hearing impairment, cannot be sustained.   We  are
of the view that the travel undertaken by the  deaf  and  hearing  impaired
employees is equally arduous and burdensome as compared to  persons  having
other disabilities referred  to  in  Section  2(i)  of  the  Act.   Hearing
impaired persons cannot communicate with the bus conductors, auto and  taxi
drivers as a normal person can do.   Invariably,  they  have  to  seek  the
assistance of a stranger.   Time and effort required to reach a destination
is considerably more as compared to normal persons.    A  hearing  impaired
person sometimes may end up spending more money in travelling  as  compared
to normal persons.   At  times,  he  is  required  to  seek  assistance  of
strangers or other travelers.


20.   The hearing impaired person also would not be able to hear the  sound
of horn and  passing  vehicles  and,  at  times,  will  have  to  seek  the
assistance of other co-passengers or strangers on the  road.   We  find  it
difficult to subscribe the view that disability, as envisaged under Section
2(a) of the Act, with respect to the hearing impaired persons, is less than
the disability of a blind person.  No such  discrimination  has  ever  been
made or visualized among the persons with disabilities mentioned in Section
2(i)  of  the  Act  as  they  form  a  class  by  themselves.   A   further
discrimination amongst themselves is clearly violative of Article 14 of the
Constitution of India.


21.   The Disabilities Act deals with a well defined  class  i.e.  “persons
with disabilities” mentioned in Section 2(i).  The nature of disability may
differ from person to person included in Section 2(i), but all such persons
have been categorized as a  group  of  “persons  with  disabilities”  under
Section 2(i) read  with  Section  2(t)  of  the  Act.   In  our  view,  the
differentia sought to be canvassed  by  the  Ministry  of  Finance  has  no
rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by  the  Disabilities
Act, which envisages to give equal opportunities, protection and rights  to
the “persons with disabilities”. Equality of law and  equal  protection  of
law be afforded to all the “persons with disabilities” while  participating
in Governmental functions.   Transport allowance  is  given  to  Government
employees since many of the Government employees may not be residing in and
around their  places  of  work.   Sometimes,  they  have  to  commute  long
distances to and fro.  There has been  an  unprecedented  increase  in  the
commutation time between the residence and place of work which effects  the
work environment in offices adversely as the employee spend much  of  their
energy in commuting and, in the case  of  persons  with  disabilities,  the
situation is more grave.


21-A. State Commission for  Persons  with  Disabilities,  Kerala  vide  its
letter dated 21.3.2003, evidently, taking note of those aspects,  requested
the Government of Kerala to extend the benefit of conveyance  allowance  to
deaf and dumb employees also and pursuant to the same,  the  Government  of
Kerala vide G.O.(P) No.277/2005/Fin. of Finance Department dated  14.6.2005
extended  the  benefit  of  conveyance  allowance  sanctioned  as  per  the
Government Orders to the Government employees with hearing impaired as  per
the disability defined in the  Disabilities  Act.    The  State  of  Andhra
Pradesh, on the recommendations of the Anomalies  Committee  issued  Orders
No.22, Finance (TA) Department dated 17.12.2004 on  the  recommendation  of
One Man Committee in 2006, vide G.O. MS. No.197 dated 6.7.2006  of  Finance
(TA) Department extended the benefit of Conveyance Allowance  to  deaf  and
dumb employees on par with physically handicapped employees.


22.   The deaf and dumb persons have an inherent dignity and the  right  to
have their dignity respected and protected is the obligation on the  State.
 Human dignity of a deaf and  dumb  person  is  harmed  when  he  is  being
marginalized, ignored or devalued on the ground that the disability that he
suffers is less than a visually impaired person which, in our view, clearly
violates  Article  21  of  the  Constitution  of  India.    Comparison   of
disabilities among “persons of disabilities”, without any  rational  basis,
is clearly violative of Articles 14 of the Constitution of India.   In  our
view, the recommendation made by the Ministry of Health and Family  Welfare
for  extending  the  benefit  of  transport  allowance  to  the  Government
employees suffering from  hearing  impairment  in  equal  with  blinds  and
orthopaedically handicapped Government employees is perfectly legal and  is
in consonance with Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.


23.   Under such circumstances, we are inclined to allow this writ petition
and direct the Respondents to grant transport allowance to  deaf  and  dumb
persons also on par with blinds and orthopaedically  handicapped  employees
of Central and the State Governments and other establishments wherever such
benefits have been extended to the blinds and  orthopaedically  handicapped
employees.  Ordered accordingly.



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




                        ……………………………J.
                                         (A.K. Sikri)
New Delhi,
December 12, 2013.

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