Person with low eyesight cannot be disqualified from the job: Madras High Court

A person cannot be disqualified from a job only on the account of poor vision without glasses when the job description does not specify such visual standards and the work can be done even by wearing glasses. The judgment was given by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court in the case of The State of Tamil Nadu vs. M. Salai Gayathri & others. [W.A.(MD)Nos.941 to 953 of 2020 and C.M.P.(MD)Nos.5176, 5179, 5180, 5181, 5183, 5184, 5185, 5187, 5195, 5190, 5192, 5196 and 5199 of 2020]; presided over by the bench of Hon’ble Justice M.M Sundresh and Justice S Ananthi.

In the instant case, all the respondents had gone through the process of recruitment to the post of Sub-Inspector of Police (Technical) and Sub-Inspector of Police (Finger Print) and had accordingly, cleared the written examination followed by physical measurement endurance test and viva voce. They were found non-suited pursuant to the examination done by the Medical Board consists of one Eye Specialist, after having been selected provisionally. After making the respondents going through the rigor thrice, they were found non-suitable and their candidatures were rejected. And for the same, a writ petition was filed.

The writ petition was thereby allowed by the bench and an order was passed stating that no notification specified the visual standards. The order was challenged by the appellants stating that “The appellants being the employer of the respondents cannot question the methodology adopted. In the absence of arbitrariness or mala fides involved in the views expressed by the Medical Board, the learned Single Judge ought not to have allowed the Writ Petitions”.

Observing the facts of the case, the court contended that a residual restriction or barrier, when it does not affect the performance of the candidate will never stand the scrutiny of the law and the court mentioned that an equal platform must be created for every candidate. The court stated that insufficient power is only a deficiency in the eyes. The court made it clear that the respondents can perform by wearing glasses, their candidature cannot be rejected by making them undergo a test without wearing glasses and it was considered a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Court mentioned that “One has to see the eligibility and suitability of the candidate to the post, but such eligibility cannot be fixed on the basis of a candidate without specs, vis-a-vis, a candidate with specs”. Hence, the writ appeal was dismissed by the court.  

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