Already facing protests over anomalies in various examinations that it conducts, the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) may land in soup for asking physically challenged applicants to submit photographic proof of their disability. The Commission has also issued its own proforma for submitting the disability certificates, in violation of an order issued by Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) in 2009.
Incidentally, the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD), had in September last year, directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to withdraw its separate proforma for disability certificates after it received a petition from disability rights activist, Dr Satendra Singh, in this regard.
Talking to The Indian Express, Singh said that while UPSC withdrew the “discriminatory” proforma, many state public service commissions were yet to do so. He claimed that the UPPSC instructions are in “clear” violation of the 2009 Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) order, which instructs that the Disability Certificate be made in Form II (in case of amputation or complete permanent paralysis of limbs and in case of blindness), Form III (in case of multiple disabilities) and Form IV (in case other than those mentioned above).
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“These three forms clearly state that a ‘Recent Pass Port (PP) size attested photograph showing face only of the person with disability’ is required. None of the forms asks for a photograph ‘showing the disability’ of the candidate. UPPSC is infringing on the rights of privacy by asking the candidates to showcase their disability, which is humiliating to say the least,” Singh told The Indian Express.
Rule 6 of the same order, he added, states that such a certificate, when issued, is to be generally valid for all purposes. “When a person already has a valid government certificate of permanent disability, why should he/she get his disability certificate again in the prescribed form of UPPSC?
After coming across an advertisement by the UPSC with similar demands, Singh had filed a written complaint to the UPSC and CCPD in April 2014. The CCPD had then directed all ministries and departments to accept disability certificates in the existing formats.
However, an advertisement issued by UPPSC on March 17 this year has the same “discriminatory” instructions to candidates suffering from disability. “The UPPSC’s insistence on disability certificate in their own format and photographic evidence of the same is discriminatory as well as illegal. How can an amputee female, a person with spina bifida or one having invisible disability attach his/her photograph showing disability? The department needs to be more sensitive to such issues,” Singh said.