"Visually impaired and disabled persons don't require your sympathy, they need a little support," observed the Bombay High Court on Thursday.
While hearing a plea filed by Nilima Surve, who is visually impaired, the high court was surprised that the commissioner of disability had upheld her termination, instead of supporting her.
In November 2006, Chetna College at Bandra had appointed Surve as a junior clerk. But she was dismissed from service four months later. The college had cited "mistakes in her typing" as the reason behind the termination.
The division bench, comprising chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Kathawala, was irked to find that Surve wanted a particular software to be installed to improve her work, instead she was sacked citing "unsatisfactory work".
Surve had approached the commissioner for disability challenging her dismissal stating she had merely sought installation of the software, Jaws, but the college chose to dismiss her in March 2007.
The judges got further annoyed when Surve's counsel Chetan Agrawal pointed out that the commissioner had passed some critical remarks in the order upholding her termination.
One such remark read: "The woman should have acquired the knowledge of technology available and used in the market instead of asking for a specific software."
Additional government pleader agreed that the order was contrary to the legislative intent, after the judges expressed anguish about the observations.
"The order is clearly arbitrary and contrary to the provisions of the [Persons with Disability] Act," Nitin Deshpande said. The high court also called for a meeting of all stakeholders — government officers, NGOs, representatives of visually impaired and handicapped persons — on January 15.
Measures to resolve the problems faced by the disabled will be discussed at the meeting to be held in the conference hall of the high court building in presence of the judges.