Thursday, August 4, 2016

Medical Board declares a teacher with 30% disability as medically unfit; denied Govt. job

Dear Colleagues,

We come across such cases pretty often as a result of biases & negative attitudes towards persons with disabilities & total lack of awareness about the legal provisions. This case is unique since the government or the medical board couldn't have declared the candidate as medically unfit for the post, even if she was visually disabled (exceeding 40% disability) since the post is also identified for persons with disabilities (visual impairment).

The visiting teacher has a 30% certified visual disability thus she is not a person with disability in terms of the Disabilities Act of 1995. The Act mandates a person with 40% disabilities to be eligible for the benefits / reservation available for persons with disabilities. 

In both cases whether the candidate has a visual disability of 40% or not, she couldn't have been rejected on the grounds of disability. The medical boards are woefully unaware of the enabling provisions of the disabilities Act and they mechanically declare candidates medical fit or unfit without even going in to the job requirements.

Here is the news from Times of India

Denied govt job, relief in sight for 25-yr-old
Ambika Pandit
New Delhi

Deemed Medically Unfit, Woman Secures Review

Her dream of becoming a teacher landed in jeopardy after the medical board of a government hospital declared her “medically unfit“. However, the Public Grievances Commission (PGC) and education department came to the rescue of the 25-year-old and sought a review of the medical report. She is likely to get the Delhi government school job soon.

The medical board rejected her due to a vision deficiency -absent left eye. The job aspirant has, however, been working as a guest teacher in a government school. The PGC and education department said that she has just about 30% sight deficiency in one eye. Moreover, the job for which she was selected was non-technical.

The woman has now been re-examined by a special medical board and her appointment by the state government is awaited. The effort by the education department and the PGC has opened a window of hope for others like her who may find themselves in the same position. Her father approached the PGC on May 24 after the joining order to the post of assistant teacher (primary) was not issued to her by the education department.

The first hearing was held by PGC in June. The education department filed a status report stating that the “candidate was declared medically unfit (absent left eye) by Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital in April, 2016. At present, appointment to the candidate cannot be given by the directorate of education.“

The woman gave a submission that she has 30% sight deficiency since birth and, as per rules, she is not entitled to the handicap certificate. She added that she had finished her entire education and passed examinations without any hindrances.As such, she should not be prevented from her entry into government service as school teacher. She also informed that she is working as a guest teacher with Delhi government and performing her duties perfectly.

Hearing the matter, PGC member N Dilip Kumar observed: “The complainant can study and attend classes and can do all work perfectly . Her eyesight deficiency is in no way affecting her teaching work. As such, relaxation should be given in the rule in respect of complainant.“

The commission advised the director of education to personally look into the matter and ensure that suitable amendment is made to the rules to benefit not only the complainant but also similarly placed candidates. On July 20, the directorate of education informed the commission that it had written to the chairman of the Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial hospital medical board stating that the candidate has requested for a review of the medical examination report.

“Chapter XIII states that if a candidate is declared medically unfit on account of visual acuity, an appeal should be dealt with by a special medical board, which should include three ophthalmologists. Ordinarily , the findings of the special medical board should be considered as final, but a second appeal shall be permissible in doubtful cases and under very special circumstances,“ it was observed.

The hospital examined her again and has submitted her fresh reports to the education department. The family now awaits the appointment letter that will set their daughter on the road to empowerment.

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