On Friday, the Supreme Court allowed persons with disabilities to apply for Indian Police Service (IPS), DANIPS and Indian Railways Protection Force Service (IRPFS) on a provisional basis according to their preferences in the civil service. and requested them to submit their application forms in this regard to the UPSC by April 1.
The Supreme Court issued the order while hearing a plea challenging the Center’s notification of August 18, 2021 on the grounds that it granted a “blanket exemption” to all categories of positions under the IPS, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Police Service (DANIPS) and IRPFS of the domain of the reservation to be provided thereunder.
A panel of judges AM Khanwilkar and AS Oka have been told by Attorney General KK Venugopal that the government wants time to file a counter affidavit in the case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that it would take two weeks to file the affidavit.
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Lead attorney Arvind Datar, representing the petitioner “National Platform for Disability Rights”, said the exams have been completed and some of those people have passed.
Stating that they had to file their preferences by the evening of March 24, which was the last date, Datar said they wanted an extension of time for this by a week or two since the selection process is already underway.
He said the petitioner and similarly placed persons may be allowed to submit their application form to the UPSC and their applications may be considered subject to the outcome of the proceedings.
“We deem this request to be fair and reasonable. Accordingly, we direct the authorities, in particular the Secretary General of the Union Public Service Commission to accept hard copies of the applications from the candidates concerned, such as the petitioners and similarly placed persons, if submitted physically or by mail no later than April 1, 2022 to the office of the Secretary General of the Union Public Service Commission before 4 p.m.,” the bench said.
He said applications received after 4 p.m. will be considered invalid applications.
The Supreme Court also clarified that its order is not to prohibit the ongoing selection process in any way.
He said that the application filed by the petitioner or similarly placed persons within the time limits would be dealt with, subject to the outcome of the petition before him.
The bench posted the case for hearing on April 18.
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During the hearing, Datar said that many people with disabilities have passed written exams and now they have to fill out a form and tell the central civil service what they want – IAS, IPS, IFS, etc.
“Many of our members have passed the main exams,” he said, adding that many of them were unable to complete the forms until last night.
The plea filed in the Supreme Court said no information is available in the public domain to discern the rationale for granting a blanket exemption by notification.
“It is argued that the contested notification granting a blanket exemption to all positions in IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS is unconstitutional, contrary to statute, and is legally untenable for the following reasons: exclusion of PwDs (persons with disabilities ) to even hold administrative and other non-combatant positions in IPS, DANIPS AND IRPFS through the disputed notification is manifestly arbitrary,” he asserted.
The petition requested the cancellation of the notification insofar as it grants a general exemption from the granting of the reservation to persons with disabilities in the IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS.
He also requested the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities to reserve appropriate positions for persons with disabilities within IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS.
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