Showing posts with label Blind judge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blind judge. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Two backlog post of Blind to be filled in Delhi Judicial Services Exam 2014

Delhi High Court has invited application for the Delhi Judicial Services Examination 2014  to fill up 80 vacancies out of which 02 vacancies (backlog) are reserved for Physically handicapped (Blind/ Low Vision) (Mobility not to be restricted) candidates.

Application form including the DJSE Registration Form can be obtained against Demand Draft / Pay Order (non-refundable) for ` 600/- each for General Category candidates and Rs. 100/- for Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe / Physically Handicapped (Blind / Low vision) (mobility not to be restricted) / Orthopaedically Handicapped {OA – one arm affected (Right or left), OL – one leg affected (right or left), BL – both legs affected but not arms} candidates on any working day from 24.02.2014 to 22.03.2014 from Delhi High Court. The applications must be submitted positively on or before 24 March 2014 (4 PM).

To access the notification and the instruction either visit the high court website at links below or click here to access it from  Google Drive : Notification for DJS 2014,  Instructions for DJS 2014.

High Court Website Link for Notification
High Court website link for Instructions

The only funny thing is that it debars Ex-Servicemen who were discharged from service on account of physical disability attributable to military service or on invalidment.

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Blind Judge in Korea shows how blind persons can function as Judge successfully

Dear Colleagues,

A very good news coming in from Korea. We have a Blind Judge Mr. Choi Young, who held the court first time with his screen reading software on the lap top. And the attendees in the court were spell bound! 

I have been working hard to see our blind brethren in the judiciary in Delhi. However, despite five posts specially reserved for the Blind in the judicial examinations held in past few years, we have seen no success.  I am requesting the Delhi High Court to organize special coaching to blind law graduates and practicing blind lawyers this year so that we can put up an example to the country. Its not that we have no blind judges in the country, but we have none in Delhi so far.

Please refer to my earlier posts "Can a blind person work as a judge?" and subsequently  "Want to become a judge?" and "A step further to ensure that Blind can function effectively in Courts" on this subject. 

Here is the wonderful news from Korea. 

SEOUL: Judge Choi Young focused on the sounds from his laptop computer at the court as he strives to grasp the case he undertook.

A text-to-speech software in the computer helped blind judge with the trial. While attendees were nervous and astonished to see how dexterously he dealt with the case, he remained calm and confident.
Korean blind judge, Choi Young, adjusts an earpiece as he presides over his first public ruling for a civil case at the Seoul Northern District Court in Dobong District (Photo credit: Korea Joongang Daily)
Korean blind judge, Choi Young, adjusts an earpiece 
as he presides over his first public ruling for a civil 
case at the Seoul Northern District Court 
in Dobong District 
(Photo credit: Korea Joongang Daily)

Choi, the Korea’s first blind judge, had his first open trial on Friday. 

Choi is one of the 86 new judges appointed in February and works as an associate judge at the Seoul Northern District Court.

The 32-year-old judge had five trials on Friday. He entered the court room at 10:00 a.m., supported by his fellow judge. He found his seat with the help of other staff. Unlike other judges, there was a laptop computer at his seat.

The court said it had installed a text-to-speech software and provided the necessary equipment, including the laptop, to assist  judge.   “He translates all the documents into audio files and put it in a USB flash drive before trials,” an official from the court said.

During the open trial on Friday, Choi seemed calm and looked no different from other judges besides he had an in-ear earphone. He also typed something on his laptop from time to time.
Observers were impressed how he could look for all the necessary files and document during the trial.

“Choi can memorize all the documents by listening to the audio files just one or two times,” a spokesman of the Seoul Northern District Court said.

Choi noted Friday that he hopes he can bring a new change in Korean society. “There was a big change after the country appointed its first woman judge. I hope I can make the same effect as the country’s first blind judge,” he said.

The 32-year-old was not born vision disability, but started to lose his vision from 1998 due to illness. He lost his vision completely in 2005 while at Seoul National University. He needed extra effort to prepare for the judicial examination due to his disability.

Despite his five consecutive failures, Choi did not give up and passed the judicial examination in 2008.

He completed a two-year program at the Judicial Research and Training Institute in earlier this year to become the country’s first ever blind judge.

Source: Asia online 

Friday, November 27, 2009

A step further to ensure that Blind Judges can function effectively in the Courts

Dear Friends,

Please refer to my earlier posts on how can a Blind person work as a Judge in which I had proposed that if the petitioner, Counters, Rejoinders, Evidence, Affidavits, judgements/orders and all other documents could be in e-format, the Blind Judges would be a great success. This provides an enabling environment. Though the reasoning being given may not be striving towards an accessible and enabling environment and may be to counter shortcomings of a paper-based system like storage, maintenance and wastage of a lot of paper, it works fine for us. A blessing in disguise. Sustainability requires inclusion of all as well as being eco-friendly.

With this news, I am delighted that what I proposed some time back is surely going to see the light of the day. The good part is that the judge would be able to look at the file and relevant rules/acts on a touch/screen just like a file in the hand. And this makes it so accessible to blind judges.

I am sincerely counting on atleast six-seven blind candidates who are appearing for the forthcoming Delhi Judical Service examination being conducted by Delhi High Court. The preparation are in full swing and I am keeping my fingers crossed.

To read the news from source click on the link below or read the news here itself below the link.

SC Vashishth, Advocate-Disability Rights

Delhi High Court to start e-Courts in Dec
e-Courts will reduce paperwork and filing of cases will be much easier and lawyers will have just to submit a CD or DVD

Published on 11/27/2009 2:01:55 PM

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court plans to start e-Courts that will not only ensure speedy justice for all but reduce paperwork and be eco-friendly, by next month.

"The necessity of e-Courts has arisen due to shortcomings of a paper-based system like storage, maintenance and wastage of a lot of paper," Justice BD Ahmed said.

Justice Ahmad, who is the in-charge of the e-Court committee, said the e-Courts will start functioning from early next month, reports IANS.

Emphasising the need for fast disposal of cases, he said e-Courts will function in a more organised manner and anyone across the world can see the case file.

"We are also working on the project in which live court proceedings would also be seen on the website," Justice Ahmed said, adding that the project will be first started in one court and will soon be started in all other courts, including the five district courts in the capital.

For lawyers and litigants, the e-Courts will be a great help as it would enable them to stop carrying bulky files to the court and just a USB device or the CD of their case.

"Recording of evidence in any case will be done electronically. We are planning to have centres all across the capital from where the person can record his statement and the court can see it via video-conferencing. This will help us in saving a lot of time not only of litigants but also of the court," Justice S Muralidhar, another member of the e-Court committee said.

He noted the new system will also help to put a halt to frequent adjournments by the lawyers.

With the help of e-Courts, warrants, court notices and other documents can be sent via e-mail to the party or the post office concerned from where a service slip will be sent back confirming the receipt.

"We will also ensure that courts shall provide adequate facility to the lawyers while they argue their case using the laptops. Judges will also be given a touch screen handbook which will be like their computer screen and they can read it like a file," Justice Ahmed said.

With the introduction of e-Courts, filing of cases will be much easier and lawyers will have just to submit a CD or DVD.

"We are also planning to introduce a system where court fees can be paid online so that entire work is done at a click of mouse," Justice Ahmed said, noting introduction of e-Courts will enhance transparency, accountability and accessibility for a litigant.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Want to become Judge? An ideal opportunity for VH law graduates in Delhi

Dear friends,

The Delhi High Court will hold Delhi Judicial Service Examination to fill at least 60 posts of Lower Judiciary in Delhi soon. I have been constantly calling upon the Visually Impaired Candidates to come forward in large number and appear for this august examination to make at least some beginning. Why I say so is because, there are five posts reserved for the Candidates with Low Vision/Blind and out of these only one has been advertised for first time, the remaining four vacancies are carried forward vacancies. You will be amazed to know that one carried forward vacancy has been advertised for fifth time, 01 for third time and 02 for second time!!

This indicates that either the information is not reaching out to the blind candidates or they are not keen on it or they are not geared up/prepared for it or there are no eligible VH candidates available!! I am sure the latter one is not true for the data of students passing out from Law Colleges indicates a good number of VH students passing out successfully. Then where they are going? I am writing it here so that I am able to circulate this information to the largest network possible and assist them in preparation for the same.

I have been told by many prospective candidates that they need some training and coaching for this which is not available in their near vicinity. The Govt. or the Delhi High Court has not made any such arrangement so far to make some special efforts to fill these vacancies by way of counselling, coaching and training. A few professional institutes that exists are not geared up to handle the needs of the VH. Non-availability of study material in alternate formats and modern technology/gadgets are other stumbling blocks.

I had written an article some time back on what all it takes for a blind to become a Judge or hold a position in Judiciary here on this blog and I received many positive comments that it was not only able to sensitize many outsiders but also insiders of the Disability Sector and particular the Visually Impaired brethren. And they promised that they would surely be looking forward to the next advertisement for the recruitment.

How to apply for Delhi Judicial Service Examination 2010?

(a) Qualifications and Age: , Indian Citizen, Law Graduate from recognised university, practicing as an advocate or qualified for enrolment as an Advocate under Advocates Act, Not more than 30 years of age as on 01 January 2011. (Age relaxation applicable for SC/ST/Ex-servicemen/ Disabled as per rules) (Though advertisement doesn't say about age relaxation to disabled but it can be presumed in light of DOPT memorandum dated 29.12.2005 regarding the same (Click for Hindi version of memo)

(b) Now if you qualify in the above criteria, go and fetch the Application Form and DJS Registration form both by paying Rs. 100 (for Disabled, SC/ST) and Rs. 600/ (for General Candidates) on any working day between 03.11.2009 - 30.11.2009 (10.30 AM to 01.00 PM and 02 PM to 4 PM) from Filing Counter of Delhi High Court. Those who can't go, can ask for it by post also (refer to detailed advertisement)

(c) Important Dates : Submit the filled application in person (By hand) at Filing Counter till 4 PM on 01.12.2009 or by Registered Post Ack Due so as to reach not later than 4 PM on 01.12.2009.

Hoping to see many Blind/ Low Vision candidates competing and getting appointed this time!

Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Advocate, Disability Rights

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Can a Blind or Visually Impaired Person work as a Judge / Magistrate ?

Dear Friends,

Blind as a judge? Often I face such questions when I raise the issue that why Visually Impaired lawyers and advocates and fresh law graduates are not being considered for the post of Judges. Is it a systemic apartheid or the apathy of the appointing authorities that they do not find blind to be competent to perform the functions of the Judge and take no measures to ensure that the backlog vacancies are cleared by appropriate methods?

Is there any legal or policy level impediment ?

Mind you, there is no impediment in appointment of a blind as a judge or magistrate or a munsif because firstly the post has been identified by Govt. of India, secondly, there is a reservation to the posts for the Blind too! Then why is it that despite passage of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full participation)Act 1995, Identification of the post of Judge for the blind in the first identification list by Min. of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India in 2001 and now the second identification list of jobs in early 2007, there has not been a single appointment on the posts of Judges? I am sure the 3% reservation for the Disabled (read 1% for VH) has remained unfilled all these years and it is almost 14 years now since the PWD Act came in to being. Why is it so?

Any role models ?

I don't say that we have had no role models as yet in India though not in recent times. I hope many of you remember Shri Sadhan Gupta, the Additional Advocate General in Kolkata who remained Advocate General for almost 7 years who was blind but that did not deter him perform his so important and sensitive job effectively nor did the Government think that he was not competent! There have been several examples world over- to name a few Dr. Hans Eugene Schulze from Germany who retired from judiciary a while back.  Recently Justice Zakeria Mohammed Zak Yacoob from South Africa became judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa despite his blindness and was recently in India advocating the rights of the Visually Impaired in the society and conducted many workshops organised by Disability Rights Initiative (Human Rights Law Network), India.

The reasons for not seeing Blind as Judges.

On one part I feel it is a failure of system which has made no efforts to sensitize the larger population about the abilities of the Visually Impaired in this era of technology and the power of screen reading softwares that has largely reduced the functional impact of visual disability among the trained blind brethren. I am amazed at the newer technology where use of tongue as an eye is being successfully explored!!

Secondly, the poor quality of education and lack of support in early and higher education is majorly responsible for not seeing many blind candidates passing the LLB exams and then appearing for judiciary tests. Even today, we have no trained teachers in Govt. Schools where visually impaired children are admitted in the name of inclusive education and they are merely passed and promoted to next grades without any effective learning. Schools run by NGOs are doing good work but have limitation of resources. A few run with Govt. Grants have many teaching posts vacant for past several years in Delhi alone. This needs immediate attention.

No access to technology and costly gadgets also increases the impact of disability on the students with blindness. The Government should provide computers and other assistive and enabling technology to the Blind to provide them equal opportunities.

Also, until recently, the Public Service commissions and High Courts did not accept blind as eligible candidates due to lack of awareness. I remember Registrar, Andhra Pradesh and PSC Jharkhand refused to provide any reservation to blind in the judiciary posts when we wrote to them to reserve seats for disabled including blind. I have their letters with me! And now I have learnt that there is an attempt on their part to keep the post of judge away from the blind.

In my view, it is the society (through disabling social infrastructure and rigid social mindsets) that disables the persons with disabilities and doesn't accept the competent candidates with disabilities due to age old biases and pre-conceived notions.

Some news to Cheer about - a New role Model!

However, now such ceilings are being broken and I am delighted at the success of Mr. T T Chakravarthy, a practicing lawyer aged 41 years from Vellore to have broken that ceiling, and setting up himself as a role model for several others who are preparing for the same. Congratulation Mr. Chakravarthy! The story is available at link: Tamil Nadu gets its first blind judical officerIn fact, when the case was pending in the court, very interesting arguments were put forward and a serious debate went on with questions such as what is a handicap? Referring to the half a dozen outstation judges, who were on transfer from other states, the lawyers argued that language was a barrier/handicap to those judges, and that they had to take the help of either a co-judge or the court staff for translation or interpretation! What if the blind judge uses the services of an assistant/scribe! The Bench asked as to how would the blind judge look into the eyes of the accused and assess the demeanour, the argument was that it was an old technique as "looks are deceptive now a days." The bench relented finally and allowed the petitioner to write the examinations.

Also there are favourable trends coming from the Courts of Law. February this year Madras High Court allowed Mr. B. Veerakumar, a blind advocate to write the PSC Examination for the Civil Judge. The detailed story could be read at link: HC to the rescue of blind lawyer.

Thus it would be seen that the change has started coming in the way the society perceives persons with disability. I feel it is all the more important that how people with disability particularly those with visual impairments think about themselves.

Reading between the lines

While it might be easier to say that a judge with visual impairment/blindness should be appointed, it should be kept in mind that posting such person even at his own merit on the posts to perform his duties without appropriate assistive devices and making available the necessary gadgets and technology is not going to help any one. On the contrary,  it would be a discouragement and a blow to the high spirits of the person with visual impairment as they may not be able to prove themselves in such a hostile environment. And then the competence of these candidates would be generalized to say that  blind persons are not effective in discharge of duties expected from a judge/magistrate hence they should not be appointed.  Also, if someone is able to somehow do well without government assistance (read- at his own cost), I fear such roles models might collapse under the high hopes that society has from them. The Media which is covering their success in Bold Letters on front pages today will soon highlight the failures too if such support of assistive devices and gadgets was not provided to enable them. This would be in simple terms " Reasonable Accommodation" which will provide them a "level playing field". Now this is their right in light of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities!

Secondly, acceptance and moral support from the seniors and subordinate staff is also needed to assimilate the new entrants in the system. Hence, efforts to sensitize the workforce, especially the assistants, clerks, stenos, other judicial officers, Orderlies should be taken up on priority within departments.

The Road Ahead

We need to overhaul the system that disables.
  • We have a ministry called Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India which itself seem to be overpowered with other issues plaguing it like issues of Minorities and Dalits and there is neither time nor expertise to do justice to the subject called disability despite some sensitivities. This calls for an urgent need to create a separate ministry for handling the issues related to the Disabled persons in India or at least a separate Independent Department.
  • The visually impaired candidates should be encouraged to take up law as a subject and supported in preparation for their Exams for entering judiciary the way Govt. provides coaching and other supports to the candidates from SC/ST to prepare for IAS and UPSC examinations. NGOs could be roped in for the purpose and Legal Services Authority could also play an active role.
  • A regular sensitization and awareness raising of the society at all levels and setting more role models from amongst the disabled should be first priority.
  • Followed by an affirmative action to implement the existing laws and policies.
  • Education, Skill Development and exposure to the latest technology to improve the functional capabilities should be the prime focus.
  • People with disability on their part should stop seeking doles and enhance their core competencies to be an equal member in economy.
  • The public infrastructure especially the courts, systems should be made accessible to people with disabilities.
How a Blind judge would perform better
  • Provide him Talking software and gadgets with a personal lap top.
  • The petitions, applications, written statements, replications/rejoinders, affidavit etc should be field in e-format also along with hard copies.
  • All evidential documents/ photocopies, even if legible should be compulsorily submitted in typed in double spacing and e-format. This is already being done in High Courts and Supreme Court as the judges are elderly and have low eye-sights!!
  • All documents in regional languages can also be either translated in English or Hindi and placed before the judge in print and E-format - as is done in High Courts already!
  • The Legal Library attached to the Courts should have e-text version of all the legal books and reference books which the Judge can refer to.
  • Similarly Case laws, digests, AIR etc are now a days available in CDs and can be made available to the judges.
What is needed is an open mind and then every thing is possible! I am looking forward to days when such a system is put in place and we see Judges with Visual Impairments and other disabilities performing their functions efficiently without any barrier - attitudinal, social, physical or technological!

Warm regards
Subahsh Chandra Vashishth
Advocate,  Consultant-Disability Rights