Published: 22nd August 2020
KPSC texts all visually impaired candidates to find out if they need a scribe, after Karnataka HC order
They have also said that they will accept a disability certificate authorised by any competent medical authority and not insist on it coming from their pre-approved centres
Following a landmark judgment by the Karnataka HC, the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) has now agreed to provide scribes to all visually impaired candidates appearing for the exam next month. In fact, the commission has said that they have sent an SMS to every individual asking them if they need a scribe and to inform the commission about the same. Even the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had mentioned in its guidelines that the candidate must have the description of opting his/her own scribe, reader, lab assistant or request the examination board for the same. In fact, the Ministry had stated that the candidate must be allowed to meet the scribe and interact with him to verify if they are suitable people or not.
According to the petitioner, a total of 1,000 people with disabilities have applied for this exam out of which 800 people are visually impaired and partially blind. Around 305 candidates have made arrangements for scribes on their own for the exams, however, the remaining candidates have not opted to bring their own scribe. Though the advocate argued yesterday that it is a short notice to the government as well as KPSC to arrange for scribes in the next three days, the court said that due to this reason of not arranging for scribes, the candidates must not lose an opportunity to write the exams.
After the Karnataka High Court directed the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) to allot 20 minutes extra per hour instead of the 10 minutes they were originally giving, the state government along with KPSC has agreed and announced that it will allot 20 minutes extra to the visually impaired candidates.
This decision came after the petition filed by National Federation of the Blind was heard by the High Court of Karnataka on August 20. As per clause 12 of the Central Government Guidelines issued in the interest of the Person with Disabilities Act, visually impaired people or people with locomotor disabilities should be given 20 minutes extra per hour during these public exams. The total number of hours for these exams are three hours for other candidates.
The KPSC had called for applications on January 31, 2020, to appoint Gazetted Probationary Officers of Group A and B and they want to appoint a total of 106 officers from across the state. Aside from this, the KPSC had also released a list of names of visually impaired people and allocated them three designated hospitals to get a test done between August 10 to 13 and get a disability certificate. However, now the commission seems to have taken a U-turn with this decision too. After the petitioner argued that in circumstances like this pandemic, it is difficult to travel to far-flung places and they need somebody to accompany when they visit these hospitals, the commission has agreed to accept the disability certificate issued by the competent medical authority.