M A I N   N E W S

Finally, thalassaemic Sukhsohit to be a babu
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
There is good news for UPSC rank holders who feared losing a slot in the civil services on grounds of genetic or physical disabilities and disorders.

Four months after the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) rejected the appointment of Panchkula-based thalassaemic Sukhsohit Singh, who had secured 833rd rank in the UPSC 2008 exams (results were declared late last year), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stepped in to approve his selection and turn a new leaf.

Overturning the DoPT’s April 20 orders which had dismissed Sukhsohit on the recommendations of the Safdarjung Medical Board which found him unfit for service due to thalassaemia major, the Prime Minister cleared his appointment, rekindling the hopes of several disabled people who have cleared the UPSC exams, but were refused appointments on medical grounds.

The move followed a fresh DoPT recommendation to the Prime Minister favouring the selection of Sukhsohit, who had in June petitioned several Union ministers to protect his human rights. The Safdarjung Medical Board had in February rejected him citing his disability.

Later, even the Appellate Medical Board of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, which Sukhsohit approached for justice, discouraged his case quoting the Gazette of India which says, “One of the main objectives of a medical examination is to secure continuous and effective service and in the case of a candidate for permanent appointment to prevent early pension or payment in the case of premature death.” Simply put, the ground of future financial liability was cited to refuse Sukhsohit an appointment.

But MoS in the Ministry of Personnel V Narayanswamy today admitted that the medical board had taken a very narrow view of the whole matter and such things deserved to be seen holistically.

“As long as a candidate is fit to serve today, there is no problem in his appointment. We need to go beyond the rules and send a message to the special people that we are on their side,” he told The Tribune. The DoPT is reviewing nine other similar cases.

As for Sukhsohit, the battle for dignity has just begun. “The real victory will come when Parliament passes the new disability law wherein thalassaemia has been included as a disability and reservation in jobs proposed for thalassaemics,” Sukhsohit said.

Diabetic M Srinivasu awaits his chance

Hyderabad-based M Srinivasu, who had secured 814th rank in the UPSC 2008 exam, is also awaiting his chance to join the civil services. He was rejected by the Safdarjung Medical Board on account of diabetes. The board had cited Rule 21 of the Extraordinary Gazette of India, which states, “A candidate must be in good mental and bodily health, free from any physical defect like to interfere with the discharge of his duties as an officer”. Srinivasu has already petitioned the Prime Minister. 





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