Supreme Court Considers PIL Alleging Exclusion of Persons With Disabilities from District Judiciary Appointments

Supreme Court notices PIL on exclusion of Persons With Disabilities from District Judiciary appointments. Petitioner challenges state rules under RPwD Act, seeks 4% quota enforcement. Case: Dr. Renga Ramanujam v. Union of India.

The Supreme Court took action on Monday (April 15) regarding a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that raised concerns about the exclusion of Persons With Disabilities (PwD) from appointments to the District Judiciary in several States.

The petitioner argues that the judicial service rules in many States do not include a quota for PwD, as required by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

The bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, agreed to examine the matter.

Section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 mandates a reservation of at least 4% for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwD) in government establishments. This includes various disabilities such as blindness, deafness, locomotor disability, autism, and multiple disabilities.

The petition suggests that the term "government establishments" should encompass the appointment of judges to the district/lower judiciary.

The issues raised in the petition include:

  1. Exclusion of persons with specified disabilities from judicial appointments, violating their fundamental rights.
  2. Failure to meet the 4% reservation mandate for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities.
  3. Lack of consultation with the Chief Commissioner/State Commissioner regarding which disabilities are to be excluded.
  4. Inconsistencies in reservation percentages among different states, with some providing less than 4% reservation.

These discrepancies lead to inadequate representation of persons with disabilities in the judicial services and are argued to be in violation of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner seeks:

  1. Declaration of appointment rules excluding the quota for persons with benchmark disabilities as a violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 and fundamental rights.
  2. Appointment of an expert body to review and standardize rules across all High Courts/States/Union Territories regarding appointments in the District Judiciary. Exclusion of specific disabilities should be based on expert examination.

The plea requests the court to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ declaring the exclusion of any specified disability under the RPwD Act by High Courts/State Governments/Union Territories as arbitrary, discriminatory, illegal, and violative of the Act and the Constitution.

Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh and AoR Shashank Singh represented the petitioner.