FOR ALMOST a year now, Ravi Dutt, who has 75 per cent disability in his upper limbs, has been running from pillar to post, hoping against hope to get his rightful berth in the government services.
Armed with a diploma in Elementary Teacher Education and a certificate in Computer Application, this commerce graduate had first appeared for the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) examination on August 28, 2006. Soon after, he sat for the Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) on October 25, 2006. He hoped to make it to one of the two reserved seats in the Physically Handicapped category. But he was never considered for the post. When he had approached SSC and ESIC to find out the reasons for his rejection, he never received a satisfactory answer. He then filed a petition under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. "I approached all possible people in the recruitment office. When I failed to get an answer, I was left with one option - to extract information rightfully through RTI," said Dutt.
ESIC refused to divulge any information, stating results and other qualifying details were highly confidential. The only information they could provide was that no candidate was absorbed under the Physically Handicapped category.
SSC said since most positions were open for the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe category, its minimum cut-off was 103. SSC's response also revealed that Dutt had secured 114, much higher that the required cut-off. SSC wrote, "Typing abilities were a minimum requirement for the job. While the candidate applied for exemption, permitted under the Physically Handicapped category, he failed to submit documents."
Reacting to this, Dutt said, "This job is extremely important for me. Being a disabled and conscious of my weakness, there is no reason why I should have faltered on this account." In a later communication, SSC said while he had applied for an exemption under medical grounds, he may have forged the certificate. Documents show that the Vocational Rehabilitation Certificate he had submitted were authenticated by the board of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, dated a month before he had applied for the job.
"In government services, very few doors are open to us, and if they don't recruit us even for clerical jobs, where do we go?" asked Dutt. "I have also approached the Commissioner of Disabilities, but no one has responded."
Deputy Chief Commissioner of Disabilities T.D. Dhariyal said, "We are yet to look into the facts and get the version of both the parties concerned. There are several factors that have to be looked into in the case of reserved categories. In this case, if positions are still open, then the organisation should relax the standards further so as to appoint a candidate in the reserved category."