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HC directs BMC to appoint deaf man as clerk

The Bombay High Court recently granted relief to a youth with 100 per cent hearing impairment, after it directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to reconsider his application to be appointed as a clerk.

Abhay Murkhe (22), who hails from Yavatmal district, had applied for the post in 2008. But the civic officials rejected his application saying he was suffering from 100 per cent hearing impairment.

Though the civic body carried out a subsequent recruitment of people with 100 per cent hearing impairment, it rejected Murkhe’s application yet again stating he lacked the required educational qualification.

As per the provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995, the civic body reserves a certain number of posts (of clerks) for applicants with disabilities.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar in their September 18 judgement noted: “42 posts were reserved for persons with hearing disability. Only two candidates were selected by the corporation and out of them only one has been actually appointed. In other words, as many as 41 posts of clerks reserved for candidates with hearing disability are still lying vacant.”

The court has now directed one of these posts to be given to Murkhe.

The BMC had issued advertisements in 2008, inviting applications for the post of clerks, including those reserved for disabled people in three categories, including those with either a hearing or visual disability or locomotive disability.

Based on this advertisement, Murkhe applied for the clerk’s post. Later, a medical examination revealed that Murkhe suffered from 100 per cent hearing loss and was considered ‘medically unfit’ for the post following which his application was rejected. Murkhe went ahead and challenged his rejection in the high court.

On September 27, 2011, the BMC informed the court that it planned to issue a fresh advertisement stating that even people with 100 per cent hearing impairment could apply for the post. The court then passed an order allowing Murkhe to apply in this category.

The newspaper advertisements issued by the BMC stipulated a minimum of 65 per cent at HSC-level, among other educational requirements. Murkhe had only obtained 57 per cent and failed to qualify to participate in the selection process. Other eligibility criteria included a typing speed of 30 words per minute (WPM) in Marathi and English.

Murkhe’s lawyer Uday Warunjikar contended that the subsequent advertisement issued by the BMC itself pointed out that its actions in 2008 were illegal, when the corporation rejected Murkhe’s application.

Appearing on behalf of the BMC, Advocate S M Modle told the court that Murkhe’s application would have to be considered in light of the 2011 advertisement and not the 2008 one. The court ruled: “The petitioner cannot now be denied appointment on the ground of change in the eligibility criteria in the second recruitment process.” The court has directed the BMC to consider Murkhe’s application within four weeks. 

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