The Central Information Commission has slapped a Rs 25,000 fine on the government and ordered compensation for a disabled civil service candidate who had been deprived of a prestigious job despite clearing the examinations.
The commission also wondered if the government’s “inhuman” decision had something to do with a RTI request that Kumar Avikal Manu had filed.
The penalty was imposed by the commission in a stinging order on a public information officer at the Department of Personnel and Training this week for his failure to respond to Manu’s request under the right to information law asking for the status of his appointment.
Manu had cleared the UPSC exams in 2004 but was never appointed, at the first instance presumably due to his disability. Manu moved under the RTI law last June but did not get a response.
Days after his case up for hearing at the CIC in December 2006, the commission’s order noted, he was finally told that he could not be appointed “for want of the vacancy in any government department”.
The DoPT action has “resulted in the deprivation of right to work/job of a physically handicapped person. This action is inhuman, besides being arbitrary and illogical,” Information Commissioner Prof MM Ansari said, wondering if the denial was linked to his RTI application.
The compensation awarded to Manu would only run into a few thousand rupees. Javed Abidi, convenor of Disabled Rights Advocacy Group, however, hoped "the commission’s order shames DoPT into taking some remedial action, for Manu and disabled as a whole".
“I find it unacceptable that the a disabled person qualifies the civil service and is then not given placement on one excuse or the other. It is gruesome,” Abidi told HT. The CIC also spoke of victimisation.
“Unfortunately, the information-seeker has been victimised… Is it because he resorted to the provision of the RTI Act for seeking information about the allotment of cadre?," Ansari asked, throwing out explanations for the six-month delay put forth by DoPT.
Three disabled candidates were last year allotted a service at the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; Manu’s name did not figure in this list either.
The commission also ordered compensation, equivalent to the salary and allowances already paid to the last candidate from his date of appointment till December 21 2006; when Manu was informed that there was no vacancy for him.
Email Aloke Tikku: atikku @hindustantimes.com