M A I N   N E W S

‘Visually impaired’ boy from Haryana finally gets into IAS 
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
Ajit Kumar (32) from Mahendragarh (Haryana) this week became only the second “100 per cent visually impaired” person to be accepted into the IAS.

Four years after Kumar was declared successful by the UPSC, the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) finally relented this week and Kumar received the formal communication, asking him to report on February 20 for induction into the elite All India service.

He had secured an impressive 208 rank among the 791 candidates who qualified in the Civil Services examination held by the UPSC in 2008. But while the rank was good enough for induction into the IAS, the DoPT offered to absorb him in the Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS).

Stung, Kumar filed a case against discrimination at the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which ruled in his favour in 2010 and directed DoPT to comply within eight weeks. But more than eight months went by and yet nothing moved.

Despite the order of CAT, and although the SC had ruled in 2010 itself in favour of the first completely visually impaired person to be inducted into the IAS, Ravi Prakash, the DoPT remained unmoved.

What finally turned the tide was a meeting with the Prime Minister. CPM MP Brinda Karat arranged for a meeting of the PM with Kumar and six other visually impaired qualifiers with the PM. The Prime Minister’s Office then took up the case and the files, finally, began to move.

The other UPSC qualified visually impaired candidates who secured positive orders from CAT in 2010 along with Kumar were Ashish Thakur (ranked 435 in UPSC 2008); Srinivas (ranked 583 in 2008); Pawan Kumar (ranked 860 in 2008), Purnima Jain, Shravan Kumar and Subodh Kumar.

Ashish Thakur and Srinivas, finally received the communication yesterday to join the Indian Foreign Service. Hitherto, the DoPT had been asking them to settle for lower services on grounds that their physical condition would suit only that kind of job profile.

This is not just a violation of all principles of justice but also violative of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 which mandates three per cent reservation for the disabled in every government service. Within this three per cent, one per cent is for the visually disabled.

Between 1996 and 2010, the DoPT filled 8812 vacancies in the civil services. One per cent of this is 88 seats for the visually impaired. But the UPSC recommended only 29 visually impaired candidates for induction during this period.

Seven qualified

n Seven visually impaired candidates qualified in the Civil Services exam in 2008

n DoPT refused to induct them into services they deserved according to their ranks

n DoPT defied both orders of both the Supreme Court and the Central Administrative Tribunal

n A meeting with the PM sets files moving.





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