People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 19

May 12, 2013




Govt Plays Dirty Game on Chief’s Post


THROUGH a statement issued from New Delhi, May 2, by its assistant convener Muralidharan, the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has expressed dismay at the inordinate delay in the filling up of the vacancy of the chairman of the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).


The statement reminded that the RCI, a statutory body, was established consequent to the passage of the RCI Act in 1992, and is mandated to regulate the training policies and programmes in the field of rehabilitation of persons with disabilities; to bring about standardisation of training courses for professionals dealing with persons with disabilities; to prescribe minimum standards of education and training of various categories of professionals and personnel dealing with people with disabilities etc.


It is to be noted that the appointments committee of the cabinet (ACC) had constituted a selection committee for the post of chairman of the RCI and a recommendation was made in June 2012. As per the recommendation of the committee, Dr Sudesh Mukhopadhyay, Ajay Kumar Mittal and Dr Manoj Kumar were ranked 1, 2 and 3 respectively. However, since Dr Sudesh Mukhopadhyay is not eligible because of her being overage, the person ranked number 2, Ajay Kumar Mittal, who is a blind person, should automatically have been considered for the post.


As the government was delaying the appointment, the National Federation of the Blind, through its general secretary and senior advocate, S K Rungta, filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court. Rungta contended that the department was trying to bypass the committee’s recommendation. He apprehended that the person ranked number 3 might be appointed.


The Delhi High Court bench headed by Chief Justice V K Jain, in its order of April 3, 2013, directed the department of disability affairs to forward the recommendation of the select committee to the ACC within three weeks and observed that the “selection will be normally based on the recommendation of the selection committee.”


There are genuine apprehensions that efforts are afoot to mislead the ACC against the selection of Ajay Kumar Mittal. Any attempt at doing so will amount to denial of Mittal’s rights, denial of equal opportunities for persons with disabilities and against established conventions. It will also be a violation of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995.