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‘Govt must ensure level-playing field for the differently-abled’

LAHORE:

A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissed a plea on Tuesday filed by the government against the recruitment of a visually impaired person on a teaching vacancy.
The Punjab government had challenged an order of a single bench that had directed the government to recruit the person, Muhammad Kamran Jamil, as he had passed the written test and interview for the said job.
The respondent had moved the court after the government refused to hire him despite clearing the eligibility criteria, saying he was unfit to teach kids because of his disability. However, the decision came in his favour, forcing the government to move the division bench against the court order.
The division bench headed by Justice Sohail Nasir upheld the decision of the single bench and told the government to facilitate the visually impaired people through the use of modern technology instead of shirking from its responsibility.
The bench questioned how a person could be denied the job after passing the exam and interview. The LHC judge said instead of opposing the hiring, the state should take measures to ensure the rights of differently-abled people.
Read Sindh’s differently-abled persons await legal safeguard
However, the government’s lawyer argued that visually impaired persons, in this case the respondent, was not eligible for the job because it would be difficult for him to supervise children aged 3 to 16. The counsel further said the respondent will not be able to use blackboards, take exams and evaluate the work of students.
However, the division bench shot down these arguments, saying it was the job of the government to ensure the “best environment and opportunities” for people with disabilities.
According to Justice Nasir, it was disappointing that the government instead of fulfilling its responsibility of ensuring fundamental rights to all people was discriminating against an eligible candidate on the basis of his disability.
Case background
Muhammad Kamran Jamil, the respondent, had successfully qualified for a teaching job of Elementary School Educators through the National Testing Service (NTS).
He had also passed the interview but the education department did not hire him because of his visual disability.
The petitioner approached the high court on two occasions through independent writ petitions which were referred to the Complaint Redressal Cell (CRC) and the Schools Education Department Secretary. However, there was no response to these petitions.
Subsequently, he filed a writ petition (15166 of 2019) in the Lahore High Court which was accepted by a single bench that ruled in his favour.

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