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The Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court has issued notice in a petition filed to enforce a rule mandating 20 percent relaxation in marks for persons with disabilities taking the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET)
In March 2011, the Rajasthan government had issued an order directing that 20 percent concession be given to persons with disabilities as defined in Section 2 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
This initiative was subsequently challenged and even found its way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, in its October 2016 judgment in Vikas Sankhala v. Vikas Kumar Agarwal & Ors, upheld the validity of the order.
However, in the advertisement issued by the State government pertaining to REET 2017, no such relaxation was provided for persons with disabilities. Reservation to the extent of 3 percent, as mandated by the Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2011 was, however, provided.
In response to this, the National Federation of the Blind filed a petition in the Rajasthan High Court seeking the enforcement of fundamental rights of blind persons and other persons with disabilities.
Appearing for the petitioner organization, Senior Advocate SK Rungta contended as per the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016, the reservation quota was increased to 4 percent, to be equally divided amongst persons in the category of visually impaired and those with locomotor disability.
He further stated that the Government of Rajasthan had not amended the Rajasthan Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules of 2011 to bring it in tune with the 2016 Act at the time of issuing the advertisement, and it was only recently that the 4 percent rule was made applicable to the State.
Even if the 3 percent reservation notified in the advertisement was followed, a total of 378 vacancies should have been reserved for visually impaired persons and an equal number of 378 vacancies should have been reserved for those with locomotor disability, Rungta argued. In the category of visually impaired, only 133 appointments have been made, he stated.
Thus, an interim order directing the State not to fill up the vacancies at least to the extent of 3 percent from the general category was prayed for. It was also prayed that the State carry out an exercise by applying the relaxation of 20 percent marks to find out whether sufficient number of candidates in both categories are available to fill up the vacancies.
In response, the Division Bench of Justices Mohammad Rafiq and Goverdhan Bardhar issued notice, ordering,
“In the meantime, the respondent-State shall undertake the aforesaid exercise and also find out the number of candidates appointed in the specially abled category and keep number of vacancies to the extent of shortfall, unfilled after undertaking the aforesaid exercise, till further orders passed by this Court…”
This matter, along with two other similar ones, are directed to be listed on April 22.
Along with Rungta, Advocates Jai Lodha, Atishay Jain, and Shivankur Shukla appeared for the petitioner organisation.
Read the order: