Volume 3 Issue 11 - June 01, 2005

Delhi High Court calls for more inclusive definition of disability

DNIS News Network - In a landmark ruling, the Delhi High Court has said that a person suffering from heart ailments is entitled to employment benefits earmarked for persons with disabilities under The Disability Act, 1995.

The ruling also made significant remarks about the definition of “disability” in the Act, saying that the term needed to be made more inclusive in its implication. Delivering the ruling, Justice Vikramajit Sen said: “There is no reason to conclude that a person suffering from heart disease has been specifically kept beyond the amelioration and alleviation of the said statute, i.e., the Disabilities Act.”

He said, "The term as defined in section 2(I) of the Act is not inclusive. The legislature shall expeditiously consider the question and carry out amendments to the Act.”

The above observations came at a ruling following the hearing of a petition by K.B.P. Narain Singh, who was a co-pilot but removed from service in 1995 following a heart attack and given a ground job on a lower pay. The court asked the Airports Authority of India to give Singh the same salary that is entitled to a co-pilot.

The court said: “There is no justification to terminate the services of the petitioner especially where the state is the employer; it is obligated to bestow welfare measures in consonance with the law of the land.”

Justice Sen said, “It also appears to me to be unfair to deprive and exclude a person suffering from any congenital or other physical or mental disorders other than those enumerated in section 2(I) of the Act from preferential consideration for job-appointment.”

“This is especially so where the employer has decided that the employment of the employee concerned must be brought to a premature cessation because of a severe setback to the health or an injury suffered by him in the duration of his service,” the Court observed.

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