Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: This contempt petition was filed before the Bench of Nirmaljit Kaur, J. for disobedience of the order by which the operation of order where promotion was granted to one Renu Rani to the post of Personal Assistant on the ground that she was physically handicapped was granted.

Petitioner contended that respondents had shown disregard to the order by stating that due to interim order respondent shall be allowed to continue to work with Chief Engineer (NCR) and draw the pay as Senior Scale Stenographer till further orders. It was stated in the reply that the order of promotion was not given effect after the Department was made aware of the stay order where no benefit of the Personal Assistant was granted. To avoid confusion earlier memo was substituted for another memo which made the clarification that in accordance with the order no action regarding pay fixation will be taken pending writ petition and employee will continue to work with Chief Engineer (NCR) as Senior Scale Stenographer and draw pay as Senior Scale Stenographer.

High Court observed that the argument advanced by petitioner that she was not reverted cannot be sustained. It was clear before the Court that the respondent had not been given any benefit of the order of promotion which was stayed by this Court. Order passed to clarify misunderstanding raised by petitioner in the contempt petition shows no malafide on part of respondents to contempt or violate the order passed by this Court.  Therefore, this petition was dismissed. [Ajmer Singh v. Alok Nigam, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 303, decided on 27-03-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Modifying the order dated 30.11.2016, where it was directed that all the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem, the bench of Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, JJ said that the audience need not stand when the National Anthem is sung or played in the storyline of a feature film or part of the newsreel or documentary.

Earlier on 9.12.2016 has modified the earlier order regard being had to the handicapped persons keeping in view the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. In pursuance of the said order, guidelines were issued on 21.12.2016 prescribing the modalities for the persons with disabilities to show respect to the National Anthem. However, taking note of the fact that the Parliament has brought a new legislation called ‘The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which repeals the 1995 Act, the Court asked the Union of India to issue appropriate notification/guidelines in view of the language employed in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 within a week. [Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 129, order dated 14.02.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the petition filed by the Physically Handicapped candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC), claiming that they are entitled to avail 10 attempts instead of 7 attempts in the Civil Services Examination, the bench of Ranjan Gogoi and Ashok Bhushan, JJ held that the reservation provided to the Physically Handicapped Candidates of General and OBC category is a horizontal reservation. Both being provided 7 attempts to appear in Civil Services Examination, no discrimination or arbitrariness can be found as the Physically Handicapped Category is a Category in itself, a person who is physically handicapped be it Physically Handicapped of a General Category or OBC Category, suffering from similar disability has to be treated alike in extending the relaxation and concessions.

The said challenge was made on the ground that since the attempts for Physically Handicapped candidates belonging to General Category have been increased from 4 to 7, w.e.f. 2007 Civil Services Examination by Notification dated 29.12.2007, there should be a proportionate increase in attempts to be taken by Physically Handicapped Candidates belonging to the OBC Category.

Rejecting the said contention, the Court held that when the attempts of Physically Handicapped candidates of OBC Category and Physically Handicapped candidates of General Category, who appeared in the Civil Services Examination are made equal, and a Physically Handicapped candidate belonging to OBC Category, in addition to 10 years relaxation in age also enjoys 3 years more age relaxation for appearing in the examination, it cannot be said that there is discrimination between Physically Handicapped candidates of OBC Category and Physically Handicapped Candidates of General Category. The reserved category candidate belonging to OBC are separately entitled for the benefit which flow from vertical reservation, and the horizontal reservation being different from vertical reservation, no discrimination can be found when Physically Handicapped candidates of both the above categories get equal chances i.e. 7 to appear in the examination.

The Court also said that the horizontal reservation and relaxation for Physically Handicapped Category candidates for Civil Services Examination is a matter of Governmental policy and it is not in the domain of the courts to embark upon an inquiry as to whether a particular public policy is wise and acceptable or whether better policy could be evolved. The Court can only interfere if the policy framed is absolutely capricious and non-informed by reasons, or totally arbitrary, offending the basic requirement of the Article 14 of the Constitution. [Union of India v. M. Selvakumar, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 58, decided on 24.01.2017]