In a landmark ruling that would benefit lakhs of defence personnel who are disabled after suffering injuries while on duty and are mercilessly dismissed from service, the Delhi high court on Wednesday said it just cannot be done unless they are found unfit for any job.
Sending a copy of the judgment to the home ministry, the court asked it to "be more rational and logical" and ensure that paramilitary forces frame a uniform policy while dealing with disabled personnel.
A bench headed by justice Pradeep Nandrajog directed identification of less strenuous job for handicapped jawans.
The court said, "The home ministry shall take a policy decision in this regard. They are to be rational and logical and frame uniform policies pertaining to rehabilitation and/or retention in service of all personnel serving under different central paramilitary forces".
The ruling came following a plea by an Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel Gajendra Prasad posted at icy Phobrang in Kashmir who suffered a peripheral vascular disease after a frost bite at minus20 degrees in 2001.
His right limb and left toe had to be amputated. After placing him in low medical category he was removed from service. The Medical Board opined that Prasad was "permanently incapacitated to perform the duties of a combat constable".
Prasad pleaded before the court on March 4, 2011: "It is injustice to throw me out of job. .... With an artificial leg I am in a position to work even as a constable dak (mails) and it is wrong to state that I cannot perform any duty."
The bench, impressed with his fitness, said, "Let us confess that when he stood up in court on our request we saw him more smart in his turn out vis-à-vis other constables of paramilitary forces we see in court…."
The ministry was asked "if another central paramilitary force like the CRPF had a rule that no one shall be boarded out unless not found fit for any kind of duties what prevented a uniform policy for all paramilitary forces vis-à-vis those disabled on duty... We find it illogical that one central paramilitary force should have a benevolent policy pertaining to its jawans who suffer disabilities while on duty."