Bombay High Court Raps Railway For Nixing Job Application Of Blind Woman Due To Typo Error

Bombay High Court Raps Railway For Nixing Job Application Of Blind Woman Due To Typo Error

The court remarked that the case illustrates how “administrative apathy” can defeat the benefit of the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 11:19 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

The Bombay High Court has directed the railway recruitment cell to take forward the job application of a visually challenged woman, that was rejected earlier for typographical error, in six weeks. The court remarked that the case illustrates how “administrative apathy” can defeat the benefit of the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

HC's observations

The HC also expressed displeasure over the fact that despite its 2023 order to keep one post of assistant vacant pending final disposal of the woman's plea, the railway simply dropped her candidature due to the birth date error in the form. Shanta Sonawane, 31, a resident of Vangani in Thane, had challenged the cancellation of her candidature under the 'Persons with Benchmark Disabilities' category. She mentioned the disability as 100% blind. Her plea said that she had taken the help of a stranger at the internet cafe, while filling the form. Inadvertently, her birth date was mentioned as January 10, 1992, instead of the correct date January 10, 1993.

Setting aside the railway's order nixing the woman's candidature, the HC observed that the legislation for the disabled should not merely remain in the statute book but the spirit behind the legislation should be applied by all authorities; practically showing appropriate sensitivity and flexibility. The stand taken by the railway is “unduly oppressive and harsh and violates the objective of the (Disabilities) Act of 2016”, a division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and M M Sathaye said.

Detailed order

In a detailed order, the bench said that the individuals who are 100% visually impaired cannot be expected to stand on an equal footing with other candidates. “The (Disabilities) Act of 2016 not only mandates ensuring equal opportunities for people with disabilities, but also making necessary adjustments to meet their specific needs,” it added. Highlighting that visually impaired persons may make mistakes, such as typing errors, the court said, “These errors, stemming from their disability, should not result in discrimination or unfair treatment by employers.”

Rejecting the applications of such people and then refusing to remedy the mistakes would contravene the principle of equality. By refusing Sonawane’s application, the railway, which was expected to handle the situation with sensitivity and flexibility, had failed to discharge its obligation under the Disabilities Act, the court remarked.

Court remarks

- Legislation for disabled should not merely remain in statute book

- Spirit behind legislation should be applied by all authorities

- Implementation should show appropriate sensitivity, flexibility

- Stand taken by railway unduly oppressive, harsh

- It violates objective of Disabilities Act of 2016

- Errors stemming from disability should not result in discrimination

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