The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) and the Doctors with Disabilities: Agents for Change have jointly addressed identical letters to the Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment and the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare.

They have demanded the withdrawal of the blatantly discriminatory order issued by the AIIMS Rishikesh. 

The full text of the letter is given here below.

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May 03, 2020

Shri Thawar Chand Geholt

Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment

Government of India

Dear Sir,

After our complaint about the blatantly discriminatory and totally insensitive office order dated April 9, 2020 signed by the AIIMS Rishikesh Director, Prof. Ravi Kant, a revised order was issued by him yesterday.  This we presume has come about following directions from your ministry. Thank you for your intervening immediately, even while being engaged in the fight against the Covid pandemic.

However, while we had sought a withdrawal of the order in toto, and what we presume you too must have justifiably advised, what the Director has done is to bring out a new office order on May 2, 2020. This is in fact a “Clarification” for the order of April 9, 2020, as the order itself categorically underlines.

The order of April 9, 2020, as you know states:

 “Any employee (including faculty), if unable to perform duties, due to Physical or mental disability, which interferes with efficient discharge of duties, will be compulsory retired, as per CCS rules”.

The latest order of May 2, 2020 states:

“Clarification

Physically Handicapped Category (PH) (Divyangjan) are NOT included in above, as they are governed by a different rule of Govt of India”.

This you will appreciate, does not in any way alter the content of the order of April 9, 2020.

The latest order makes it abundantly clear that the order of April 9, 2020 stands. It only states that those recruited under the disabled category availing reservations are “NOT included in above, as they are governed by a different rule of Govt of India”. 

It also implies that it would be applicable to all others who have not been recruited under the reserved quota.

As we had pointed out in our letters of May 1, 2020, that the order of April 9, 2020 violates all human rights declarations, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as also the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPD Act).

The RPD Act, 2016, Sec. 20(4) lays down that:

“No Government establishment shall dispense with or reduce in rank, an employee who acquires a disability during his or her service:

“Provided that, if an employee after acquiring disability is not suitable for the post he was holding, shall 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”.

We had also drawn attention to the amendments made to the Central Services (Pension) Amendment Rules, 2018, as notified on January 4, 2019. The provide that:

“The case of a government servant acquiring a disability, where the provisions of Sec. 20 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (49 of 2016) are applicable, shall be governed by the provisions of the said section”.

So, even if the AIIMS Rishikesh Director Ravi Kant seeks to clarify the non-applicability of his order of April 9, 2020 on those recruited under the disabled category, he is categorical that it includes an “an employee who acquires a disability during his or her service”, to whom the RPD Act provides protection against dismissal, reduction in rank etc.

Therefore, as we had said earlier, this “clarification” does not in any way alter the blatantly discriminatory order of April 9, 2020. More than that, it seeks to mock at the provisions made under an Act of parliament. 

This cannot go unchallenged. 

Additionally, the Director is blissfully unaware that the law of the land now recognises 21 disabling conditions and they are not limited to physical disability alone. You will notice that he also uses the term “Handicapped” in the order of May 2, 2020. 

These do not just display his continued intransigent attitude. He has the gumption of publicly exhibiting his total disdain for the disabled, one of the most marginalised sections of our society, as also his total disregard and contempt for laws passed by the Indian parliament, that attempts to bestow rights and dignity for the disabled.

Under conditions of the pandemic, employees, faculty and others in the institute would have expected that the Director would bring to their notice the guidelines issued by various ministries as also the DoPT. Contrary to this, he has come up with an order which amounts to nothing short of a threat to employees. The threat continues, as the order has not been withdrawn and continues to remain in force, hanging like a Damocles sword over their heads.

We demand necessary orders are passed to to see that the order of April 9, 2020 is withdrawn and declared void ab initio.

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