The Karnataka High Court has asked the State Government to reconsider its decision of making mandatory for government employees, especially blind employees to report to duty. The Court has given two weeks for reconsideration.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty observed: “For the time being our concern lies with the blind persons. The State Government needs to reconsider its decision, taking into consideration the Rights of Employees with Disabilities, especially blind employees.”
The State Government issued a circular on May 18, for all Government Employees of Group A, B, C, and D to be present on duty at 100% capacity.
The bench while hearing the petition submitted by Karnataka Federation of the Blind observed:
“We have asked the State to reconsider its circular passed on 18th May, in order to think about Rights Guaranteed to the persons especially abled and specifically the blind persons. The issue will also have to mention that some specially-abled persons will need assistance, which means touching the other people. State Government have to consider its decision again.”
Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari represented the petitioner and submitted that actions taken by the respondent State in passing the impugned orders requiring 100% attendance at the time of duty by the government employees who are specially-abled are a complete violation of the orders issued by the Central Government in Office Memorandum on 28.04.2020 and 14.09.2020, which exempted government employees who are specially-abled to mark their presence on duty during COVID-19 pandemic and therefore, the circular deserves to be rejected.
It was also submitted by the counsel representing the petitioner that by bypassing such orders, the State Government is putting the health and life of the specially-abled employees at higher risk of infection with COVID-19.
The petitioner has asked the court either to set aside the orders passed by the State Government or to arrange private transportation for employees with special disabilities, particularly the blind employees or to pay the expenses of the private transport arranged by them.
The Court has asked the State Government to submit the report on 11th December and listed the matter to be heard on 14th December.