Alternative employment for employee disabled during service: HC
In a significant judgment, the Bombay High Court has ruled that if an employee has acquired disability during his service and is found not suitable for the post he was holding then he should be shifted to some other post on the same pay scale.
The judgment was passed while hearing a petition filed by a constable in the Railway Protection Force (RPF) challenging his decategorisation after 19 years of service after a medical report found him unfit to use firearms.
The HC has directed the RPF to appoint him at a post at an appropriate pay scale as an alternative employment.
BC Panicker was appointed as a constable in the RPF in May 1980 at a pay scale of Rs 3,050-4,590. In December 1997, a medical examination found him unfit to use firearms. Following which he was decategorised as a constable and was posted as a peon on the pay scale Rs 2,550-3,200 as an alternative employment.
He had filed a review application before the RPF which was rejected in March 2000. Once again he preferred an appeal before the authorities in April 2000, which is still pending.
As there was no action on his appeal, he finally approached the high court in 2006 seeking that as per the provisions in the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, he should be given an alternate employment at the same pay scale and not a lower one.
However, the RPF contended that these rules were not applicable in the RPF. Also Panicker had approached the HC after few years, stated RPF's reply.
A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice SC Dharmadhikari recently criticised the lethargic attitude of the RPF stating, "it is expected of the employers to examine the request of a disabled person and not add to his misery by keeping the request pending for a considerable time." This was in reference to his appeal filed before the authorities in 2000 which is still pending. As Panicker was waiting for the same to be disposed off, he did not approach the HC.
"The respondents (RPF) need to look into their own conduct rather than blaming the petitioner for approaching the court after a lapse of considerable time," observed the bench.