People with Disability to Get Same Benefits as SC/ST Quota

In a significant decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that People with Disabilities are entitled to the same benefits as Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and educatio

A petition was filed by Aryan Raj, a special needs person. Aryan had filed a petition against the Government College of Arts Chandigarh. The college denied relaxation in minimum qualifying marks in the Painting and Applied Art course to Aryan Raj. The college insisted that disabled persons too need to meet the general qualifying standard of 40% in the aptitude test. But the SC/ST candidates are given a relaxation to 35%. A three judge Bench of the Supreme Court announced their decision about this case on 8th July 2020 and said, “ A similar case was filed in the Delhi High Court in 2012 by Anmol Bhandari against the Delhi Technological University. In the Anmol Bhandari case, the High Court has correctly said that people suffering from disabilities are also socially backward, and are therefore entitled to the same benefits as given to the Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe candidates. The SC supports the Delhi High Courts decision. The SC rejected the Government College of Arts Chandigarh’s decision, and said that from now all persons suffering from disabilities are also socially backward and entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates in public employment and education. If SC/ST students require a minimum 35% to pass the aptitude test, then the same shall apply for the disabled in future.” The Supreme Court allowed Aryan Raj to apply for the current year. 

From the High Court Order, the Supreme Court quoted, “We cannot lose sight of the fact that intellectually/mentally challenged persons have certain limitations, which are not there in physically challenged persons. The subject experts would thus be well advised to examine the feasibility of creating a course which caters to the specific needs of such persons. They may also examine increasing the number of seats in the discipline of Painting and Applied Art with a view to accommodating such students.” 

Advocate Rajan Mani, who was also the High Court’s adviser in the Anamol Bhandari case and also advised for Mr. Aryan Raj’s case in the Supreme Court. He said that the endorsement of the High Court judgment by the apex court was a huge fillip to disabled persons’ rights. Mr. Mani said, “Till now candidates with disabilities were often not able to get the benefit of reservation in education and employment because of not meeting (matching) the general standards. Now public sector employers and colleges / universities will have to allow the same relaxations to them as to SC / ST candidates.”