Yasmeen Masuree, a professionally qualified nurse and an acid attack victim, challenged a discriminatory advertisement by AIIMS that claimed only one leg disability candidates were declared eligible in recruitment under the PWD (Persons with Disability) quota.
The Delhi high court has stayed the recruitment of 2,000 nursing officers at various centres of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on a petition moved by an acid attack victim alleging discrimination in the eligibility criterion for the recruitment process.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait ordered that the respondents (Centre and AIIMS) shall not give effect to the advertisement dated September 27, 2018, by which AIIMS had invited applications for 2,000 posts of nursing officers for recruitment in Bhopal, Jodhpur, Patna and Raipur centres.
Yasmeen Masuree, a professionally qualified nurse and an acid attack victim, challenged this advertisement since only one leg disability candidates were declared eligible in this recruitment under the PWD (Persons with Disability) quota.
Yasmeen’s counsel M.R. Shamshad argued that the recruitment notice dated September 27 is arbitrary and unreasonable to the extent that it denies acid attack victims the right to be considered for seats reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwBD) as per the mandate of sections 33 and 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and is violative of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 16, 19(1) (g) and 21 of the Indian constitution.
He argued that respondents had failed to consider the suitability of acid attack victims for the post of nurses while issuing the recruitment notice and therefore, denied equal opportunity in the public employment.
Yasmeen, in her petition filed through advocate Gyanant Singh, said that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 has included acid attack as a benchmark disability in all government services but no institution, including AIIMS, is giving reservation benefit to acid attack victims because the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under Central government has not yet issued a notification to this effect.
Advocate Shamshad argued that “AIIMS is an autonomous institution and it need not wait for the Centre’s notification. The 2016 Act categorically says that acid attack victims are eligible to get four percent reservation under the benchmark disability quota. AIIMS should implement the Act in letter and spirit.”
It was also brought to the court’s knowledge that this was not the first time Yasmeen had moved court against discrimination meted out to acid attack victims in government employment.
Justice Kait was told that she had recently moved court challenging an advertisement issued on June 13, 2018, by AIIMS calling for online applications for filling up various Group-D posts in its establishment.
The posts included that of the nursing officer, to which Yasmeen wished to apply but could not, as the only category of disability, for which the post of nursing officer was identified suitable, in the advertisement, was OL – One Leg Only.
A single judge bench had on September 26 disposed of this petition by directing the Centre to decide within four weeks whether acid attack victims would be eligible to be considered for appointment against the post of nursing officers at AIIMS and issue a notification in this regard by October 31.
The court had also directed the institute to examine Yasmeen’s case on merits and appoint her as a nursing officer even if it requires creating a supernumerary post.
Rather than issuing a notification by October 31 in compliance with the court order, AIIMS issued another advertisement on September 27 which was challenged in the instant petition before Justice Kait.
Justice Kait then asked the respondents to file their responses within four weeks explaining why the deadline of October 31 has not been met.
Despite the trauma, she completed a Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery from Jamia Hamdard University in 2014 and has been working as a nurse at various Delhi government hospitals since then.
The matter will now come for hearing on January 8.
Published in arrangement with The Wire.