The Delhi High Court has directed the Income Tax Department to identify posts which can be reserved for persons with disabilities and consequential orders granting promotion to two differently-abled Income Tax Inspectors.
The high court passed the judgment while setting aside a 2011 verdict of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in view of a Supreme Court decision.
The high court said that in a 2020 verdict, a bench of three judges of the Supreme Court held that people with disabilities, who are entitled to benefit under the PwD Act, would be entitled to reservation even in matters of reservation by promotion.
“In view of the above, the judgment impugned herein, which has been passed prior to the judgment of the apex court in Siddaraju (in 2020), cannot be sustained and has necessarily to be set aside. The respondent is directed to consider the case of the petitioners and identify the posts which can be reserved for the persons with disabilities and pass consequential orders granting promotion to petitioners,” a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said while disposing of a petition filed in 2011.
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The petitioners sought that besides Group ‘C’ and ‘D’, the benefit of reservation for physically handicapped persons must be made available for promotion posts of Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ as well.
The case of the two petitioners is that they are physically handicapped (PH) persons who come within the definition of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act (PwD Act).
They said they had appeared for the Staff Selection Examination for appointment to the post of Income Tax Inspector in handicapped quota and were appointed to Group ‘C’ Service on the post of inspectors in December 1990 and April 1991 respectively.
They submitted that they were promoted to Group ‘B’ service on the basis of seniority without being given the benefit of reservation and the next promotion available to them is in the Group ‘A’ service on the post of Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax.
The petitioners submitted that they are entitled to three per cent reservation under the PwD category but the government provided three per cent reservation for the vacancies to physically handicapped persons for direct recruitment in Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ posts.
They said vide Office Memorandum (OM) of February 18, 1997, physically handicapped persons were granted three per cent reservation in Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts which were to be filled through direct recruitment.
The plea said reservation was available to a physically handicapped person who seek employment through direct recruitment in Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts but not for those Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts which are to be filled by promotion.
One of the petitioners had given a representation before the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, stating that the benefit of reservation for physically handicapped persons must be made available for promotion posts as well but it was rejected on August 16, 2010.
The petitioners approached the tribunal for the relief which was also denied to them in 2011 after which they moved the high court.