People with disabilities can be reinstated after VRS
KOCHI: Supporting the special rights of people with disabilities, the Kerala high court held that an employee who took voluntary retirement due to a disability while in service should be reinstated if he or she wishes so later on.
The ruling was made by a division bench comprising Justices Antony Dominic and Dama Seshadri Naidu while considering an appeal filed by Southern Railway opposing such a reinstatement order issued by the Ernakulam bench of central administrative tribunal.
Fancy Babu of Kottayam, working as a senior clerk at Palghat division of Southern Railway, had taken voluntary retirement on February 15, 2002. This was after she was affected by paraplegia due to spinal cord compression, which was ratified by a medical board of Kottayam Medical College.
In 2009, she filed a petition before the tribunal seeking reinstatement in service, claiming such right under section 47 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995. The tribunal ordered her reinstatement with effect from February 15, 2002 along with all consequential benefits.
Questioning the tribunal's order at the high court, Railway's counsel Tojan J Vathikulam contended that the woman had voluntarily applied for retirement. However, the court disagreed with this view. "Railways could not take advantage of such an application made by a disabled employee under compelling circumstances arising out of the disablement," the court ruled, upholding the tribunal's order.