The Punjab and Haryana High Court has put a stay on the Punjab State Civil Services Exam process and selection (2020). The development came after the state government repeatedly failed to respond on the issue regarding reservation of persons with the disabilities in the exam.
As per the Section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disability Act (RPWD), 2016, four per cent seats should be reserved for the differently abled persons out of the total seats advertised. However, Vivek Joshi, a city based lawyer and a disability activist stated that there was just one seat reserved for PWD, that too for a woman with zero vision. Consequently, he filed a petition in the High Court to challenge the examination process without any reservation to physically disabled people.
In his petition, he had pleaded that reservation for differently abled persons should have been as per the RPWD act. Joshi said, before filing the petition he had also directly approached the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) to amend the notification, but to no avail.
The commission had issued the advertisement on December 12, last year, inviting applications for the Punjab Civil Services Combined Competitive Examination 2020, for filing up 75 posts of Punjab civil services officers and other posts. The exam for the same was conducted at various centres across the state on February 13, 2021. The petitioner had submitted an amendment letter to the commission on December 29.
Later, the court was told that the petitioner is a disabled person and a practicing lawyer in Jalandhar. He had submitted a representation with PPSC in December and demanded for rectification of the said mistake. However, the PPSC has not acted. He had mentioned that the notification has violated the rights of the petitioner by not reserving seats for the physically handicapped/disabled per the Rights of persons with disabilities Act, 2016 and further violated rules about exemption in fee for this category (Rs 1,150 was allegedly charged).
The court after hearing his plea on Tuesday, directed the PPSC to consider his case for providing appropriate reservation and also examine his representation of December 29, 2020. The examination process has also been stayed till July, this year.
“It is further directed that till the representation is decided, further process in pursuance to the advertisement shall remain stayed,” the court directed. The stay order was passed as it came to light that on January 28, response was sought on a similar matter and PPSC and the state were directed to file a status report by March 1. However, no reply was filed. Also response was not filed on March 16 even as HC had granted a last opportunity during the hearing on March 1, said the court while staying the further process.