Employment May 5, 2020
AIIMS Rishikesh Director forced to withdraw discriminatory order under sustained pressure
In the face of sustained and relentless advocacy by disability rights groups, Professor Ravi Kant, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh has been forced to withdraw an order that was discriminatory towards disabled employees.
‘All instructions issued by Govt. of India vide Gazette notification RPwD Act 2016 will be strictly adhered and fully complied, in letter and spirit’.
This new clarificatory order, in bold, from the office of Prof. Ravi Kant, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh has finally set aside what was a clearly discriminatory move towards disabled hospital employees.
Prof Kant buckled in the face of relentless advocacy by top disability rights groups, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) and Doctors with Disabilities. Both groups wrote letters of complaints to the Ministers for Social Justice & Empowerment and Health & Family Welfare.
Responding to these complaints, KVS Rao, Director, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, issued an order asking the AIIMS Director to withdraw his memo citing Section 20 (4) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 which states:
No Government establishment shall dispense with or reduce in rank an employee who acquires a disability during his or her service:
- Provided that, is an employee after acquiring disability is not suited for the post he was holding, shall be sifted to some other post with the scale and service benefits:
- Provided further that if it is not possible to adjust the employee against any post he may be kept on a supernumerary post until a suitable post is available or he attains the age of superannuation, whichever is earlier”.
- Revised order by AIIMS Rishikesh Director insensitive & discriminatory, say disability rights groups
The letter then went on to instruct Prof. Kant to withdraw his order or issue a revised one, if necessary, keeping in mind the provisions of the Act.
While welcoming the order, NPRD and Doctors with Disabilities also emphasised that this is not a one off incident.
In a joint statement, they said:
“We would also like to emphasise that this is not an isolated case where people occupying office at various levels are in some cases unaware, in some cases insensitive and in some arrogant to the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. This, as the Act itself provides, calls for sensitisation of people at various levels – elected representatives, judiciary, government officials etc”.
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