Madras high court.
Chennai: An engineering graduate and civil service aspirant has knocked the doors of the Madras high court with a unique plea. P. Gokul Kaleeswaran, a civil engineer, who suffers from the disorder ‘writer’s cramp’ (task specific focal dystonia) filed the petition seeking to permit him to use the service of a scribe for writing his main examination, which is scheduled to be held in November.
Gokul, who cleared preliminary examination held by UPSC, has been facing ‘Writer’s Cramp, a disorder caused by cramps of certain muscles of hand or forearm. It poses difficulty in performing fine motor tasks like writing or playing an instrument.
He sought the court to direct UPSC to permit him to have a scribe to write the three-hour main written examination, as permitted in cases of
candidates with certain disability under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation), 1995 and the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
His request to the UPSC to engage a scribe was rejected in an order dated November 30, 2016, stating that only two categories of persons facing loco motor disability or cerebral palsy and blind/low vision - are permitted to have a scribe to write the exam.
In the petition he said that rules cannot be strictly interpreted as they are meant to help those candidates, who are suffering from disability more than 40 per cent which is attributable to the ability to write. Hence, the disabilities quoted therein are merely illustrative in nature.
However, the UPSC submitted that the petitioner does not belong to ‘Persons with Benchmark Disability’ as he failed to produce the Certificate of Disability as per the Rules. The question of considering his request for a scribe does not arise as he must belong to the Persons with Benchmark Disability Category.
A division bench of Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad, before which the matter came up for hearing, said the issues pertaining to civil service, including that of recruitment falls under the jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). Such writs covered by CAT cannot be directly entertained by the high court. The bench directed the petitioner to approach CAT for suitable relief.