The Supreme Court Friday permitted people with disabilities to apply for Indian Police Service (IPS), DANIPS and Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS) provisionally as their preferences in the civil services and asked them to submit their application forms in this regard to the UPSC by April 1.
The apex court passed the order while hearing a plea challenging the Centre’s August 18, 2021 notification on the ground that it has granted a “blanket exemption” to all categories of posts under the IPS, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Police Service (DANIPS) and IRPFS from the purview of reservation required to be provided thereunder.
A bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and A S Oka was informed by Attorney General K K Venugopal that the government wants time for filing counter affidavit in the matter.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that two-week time would be required for filing the affidavit.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for petitioner ‘National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled’, said the exams are over and some of these persons have cleared it.
Contending that they had to file their preferences by March 24 evening which was the last date, Datar said they want extension of time for this by a week or two since the selection process is already in progress.
He said the petitioner and similarly placed persons may be permitted to submit their application form to the UPSC and their claims can be considered subject to the outcome of the proceedings.
“We find this request to be just and reasonable. Accordingly, we direct the authorities, in particular, secretary general, Union Public Service Commission to accept hard copies of the applications from the concerned candidates such as petitioners and similarly placed persons, if submitted physically or through courier on or before April 1, 2022 in the office of the secretary general, Union Public Service Commission before 4 PM,” the bench said.
It said the applications received after 4 PM will be regarded as invalid application.
The top court also made clear that its order is not to interdict the ongoing selection process in any manner.
It said the application filed by the petitioner or similarly placed persons within time would be processed, subject to the outcome of the petition before it.
The bench has posted the matter for hearing on April 18.
During the hearing, Datar said there are many persons with disability who have passed written exams and now they have to fill form and indicate in the central civil services what they want – IAS, IPS, IFS etc.
“Many of our members have passed the main exams,” he said, adding many of them have been unable to fill up the forms till yesterday evening.
The plea filed in the apex court has said no information is available in the public domain to be able to discern the rationale for grant of blanket exemption by the notification.
“It is submitted that the impugned notification granting blanket exemption to all posts in the IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS is unconstitutional, contrary to the statute, and is legally unsustainable for the following reasons: exclusion of PwDs (persons with disabilities) from occupying even administrative and other non-combat posts in the IPS, DANIPS AND IRPFS by way of the impugned notification is manifestly arbitrary,” it claimed.
The petition has sought quashing of the notification insofar as it grants a blanket exemption from grant of reservation to the PwDs in the IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS.
It has also sought a direction to the Department of Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities to reserve suitable posts for the PwDs in the IPS, DANIPS and IRPFS.