Relief seems to be on its way for Civil Service aspirants as the Delhi High Court refused to issue a stay on the UPSC preliminary examination for Civil Services 2014. However, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and various cadre controlling authorities faced stiff criticism from the court for reserving only two seats for visually impaired candidates.
“Prime facie we find substance in the contention of the writ petition that the reservation for visually impaired candidates is not in conformity with Section 33 of the Disabilities Act. However, we are not inclined to stay the preliminary examination on that ground”, Chief Justice Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw stated.
However, the court upheld a plea filed by NGO Sambhavana (working for visually impaired persons) that sought extra 20 minutes per hour for persons of the category to answer questions in the preliminary and the mains examination. The High Court also extended the help of scribe as provided under the guidelines dated February 23, 2013. It is worth mentioning that the guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
The NGO had also sought a stay on the UPSC preliminary examination, alleging that the allocation of seats violated the Provisions of Persons with Disability Act 1995. Out of a total of 3 per cent reservation for disabled candidates, the Act clearly reserved 1 percent seats for visually challenged people.
However, only two vacancies were reserved for the visually impaired candidates out of the total 1291 seats. On the other hand, for the hearing impaired and candidates with loco motor disabilities, 12 seats each were set aside, the NGO argued. Earlier, the notification from the UPSC had advertised for 1291 vacancies and specified 26 seats for disabled candidates. And, only two seats were reserved for the visually challenged Civil Services aspirants.