Disabled people employed in private companies will no longer get benefit and protection in service provided under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The Supreme Court has reversed a Bombay High Court judgment extending applicability of the social enactment to private sector.
In December 2005, the high court directed Pune-based Dalco Engineering Pvt. Ltd. to reinstate a telephone operator, Satish Padhye, who was dismissed after he lost 85 per cent hearing.
Holding that the company was an “establishment” as envisaged under section 2(k) of the PD Act, high court had granted Padhye full wages and other service benefits.
The company took the matter to the apex court, which held that the Act was applicable to government establishments
and not companies in private sector.
“Express limitations placed by a socio-economical statue cannot be ignored, so as to include in its application, those who are clearly excluded by such statute itself,” observed the apex court in its March 31 judgment.
Padhye’s lawyer had said the PD Act was applicable to “corporations” established under statutes and since private companies are established under the Companies Act, the legislation would be applicable to them too.
The apex court rejected the contention saying private companies are merely registered under and governed by the Companies Act and are not established “by or under” the central enactment.
The contention was rejected, saying if accepted employees in private companies would come under purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act because of similar term used to define public servants.
The petitioner’s lawyer had also contended that socio-economic legislations should be interpreted liberally as compared with penal and taxation statutes so as to allow the applicability of the PD Act to cover private companies too.
But that too failed to impress the highest court. “The courts cannot obviously expand the application of a provision in a socio-economic legislation by judicial interpretation, to levels unintended by the statute itself,” observed the Supreme Court.
It noted that there was a clear indication in the PD Act that the benefits were intended to be restricted to a particular class of employees employed by government entities.