Get-hooked May 3, 2020
AIIMS Rishikesh Director revises discriminatory order following strong protests
Prof Ravi Kant, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, has issued a clarification after disability rights groups objected to a discriminatory order issued by his office. The order said that employees unable to perform their duties due to disability would be compulsorily retired.
Less than 24 hours after the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) and Doctors with Disabilities sent strongly worded letters of protest to the Centre, came this note from the office of Professor Ravi Kant, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh.
‘Physically Handicapped Category (PH) (Divyang) are NOT included in above, as they are governed by a different rule of Govt. of India’.
This terse clarification was with reference to a previous order from the Director’s office on 9 April 2020, which said:
‘Any employee (including faculty), if unable to perform duties, due to Physical or mental disability, which interferes with efficient discharge of duties, will be compulsory retired, as per CCS rules’.
Top disability rights groups protest
The earlier order, also shared on WhatsApp and email with faculty members had led to outrage among disability rights groups. Two of them, NPRD and Doctors with Disabilities, took the matter up with Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health nd Family Welfare, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment and Shakuntala Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
The order, they said, violated the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act as well as international conventions.
Furthermore, as Dr Satendra Singh, Founder, Doctors with Disabilities, had also asked for an apology from Prof Kant as well as for strong taken to be taken against him under Section 92 of the Act, which says:
Whoever,— (a) intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a person with disability in any place within public view; shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine.
The step, while welcome, points to the urgent need for sensitisation workshops among lawmakers across levels.