The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) repatriated a newly appointed senior official to his parent department within 48 hours of his joining because of his disability.
Rishi Raj Bhati, who was working in the public relations (PR) department of the Delhi Transco Limited (DTL), took charge as director (PR) in DDA on January 10. However, he was relieved the next day.
Alleging discrimination, Bhati said after the senior officials came to know about his physical condition, he was informed that he was being sent back to the DTL.
“I was given the appointment letter on November 15 and joined on January 10. After my joining, I met a few senior officials out of courtesy. This was my first encounter with them as I had not appeared for the interview. During interaction with them, nobody appeared unhappy. However, within two hours, I was called and told that I was not fit for the job. They said I would be relieved,” said Bhati.
The relieving letter (signed by MK Gupta, director of personnel) handed over to him on January 11, says that ”continuance of Rishi Raj Bhati to the post may put him in probable inconvenience and may not be in the interest of the DDA also”.
“The post of director (PR) in DDA, by nature involves field work, in which the officer may have to be present at various sites of DDA like demolition sites, parks, sports complex, biodiversity parks etc. This involves extensive outdoor activities duties including physical work/ movement of the officer in various situations,” the letter said.
Bhati conveyed his disagreement over the decision and wrote a letter to the authority. Later, he expressed his anguish on a social media site.
“I tried to push my case saying that I have been in service for more than 22 years and almost 16 years I worked in public relation department but neither faced any difficulty nor my disability affected my performance. I have been appreciated for my performance. But they did not relent,” he said.
DDA vice-chairman Udai Pratap Singh said he was possibly sent back because of discrepancies in his resume. “The matter is unnecessarily being presented as an issue. There must have been some reasons. He must have concealed some information in his CV. It was not a new appointment, he came on deputation. It happens sometime that deputation is not accepted,” he said.
Reacting to the V-C’s response, Bhati said he wants punitive action against official responsible for the humiliation and discrimination he experienced. “The decision is against the Centre’s ambitious move ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ (Accessible India Campaign) to provide equal opportunity for development and participation in all aspects of life to persons with disability,” he said.
Disabled rights activists termed the decision of the DDA as shocking and said action should be taken against the top DDA official. “DDA V-C should resign from the post as he is unfit and unworthy for the job. Otherwise, the government should take action and must set an example,” said Javed Abidi, convener of Disabled Rights Group.