LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench has dismissed an appeal filed by the Punjab government against a single bench’s decision whereby it was directed to consider a visually impaired candidate for an educator’s job who qualified for the post.
Muhammad Kamran Jamil, a visually impaired candidate, responding to an advertisement issued by the Punjab education department for the posts of Elementary School Educators (ESE), applied for the job and cleared the test conducted by the National Testing Service (NTS).
He also passed the interview, but could not get the appointment letter because of the objection pertaining to his visual impairment.
The candidate approached the LHC against the denial of employment and his writ petition was allowed on March 3, 2020, by a single judge. The education department filed an intra court appeal against the decision.
The department’s counsel argued before the two-judge bench that the candidates with visual or hearing impairment were not eligible for the teaching job as they could not monitor and supervise the children aged 3 to 16 years by using blackboards, check their home work, conduct examination and evaluate their performance.
He further argued that the department had the discretion to accept or reject the application of a person with such impairment keeping in view the nature of the job.
Justice Sohail Nasir, the author of the division bench’s ruling, observes that a state cannot deviate from its fundamental duty, where it can at any level, of grooming and promoting the persons with disabilities so as to dislodge the impression from their minds that they are oppressed and neglected not only by the state, but by the society as well.
He notes that the Supreme Court on the question that if a particular post is not fit for a person with disability, has been pleased to say that an establishment may shift the disability quota and adjust it against another post in the establishment so that the overall disability quota is not disturbed.
The judge observes that the respondent/candidate not only passed the written test, but was also successful in interview, therefore, the single bench rightly observed that the department should have considered the possibility of providing necessary technical and human support to ensure that respondent was able to perform as an educator and was not discriminated on the ground of disability.
The ruling states if Louis Braille, who was blinded at the age of three as a result of an accident in his short life time (1809-1852), began developing a system of tactile code that could allow blind people to read and write quickly, why the state in 2021, which is the era of modern technology, cannot facilitate the visually impaired persons in a way as observed by the single judge.
The division bench, which also comprises Justice Ahmad Nadeem Arshad, dismissed the appeal of the department.