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‘Diabetes no ground for job denial’

CHENNAI : Diabetes cannot be cited as a reason to deny employment, the Madras High Court has said, pointing out that with an estimated 40.9 million diabetics India is world’s diabetic capital.Asking the Railways how can it deny job to a woman candidate on the ground that she suffered from diabetes, the court said that a diabetic is eligible for appointment in government posts as there is no scientific proof to show such a person would not be able to discharge his or her duties.

Posing this question, a division bench comprising justices V Ramasubramanian and T Mathivanan directed Southern Railways to appoint the woman within eight weeks. “In the absence of any scientific evidence to show that a diabetic will not be able to discharge the duties of office, it is not possible to accept the stand taken by the authorities,” it said while dismissing a petition by the Chief Personnel Officer of Southern Railway.

The bench said this was especially in view of the fact that India has become the world’s diabetic capital, “probably due to the concerted efforts taken in the past five decades by the food, fertiliser, pharmaceutical and beverage industries.” The court pointed out that a global report by the Indian Diabetes Research Foundation had stated that 40.9 million Indians are diabetic. “Therefore, it is not possible to accept that they are unemployable or that if employed, they would become a liability on the employer.”

Railways had challenged the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench, directing it to appoint a woman candidate Pushpam to a suitable Grade D post in 12 weeks. On November 24, 2007, the Deputy Chief Personnel Officer had issued a notification to fill up 3,698 Group ‘D’ posts in SR and in Integral Coach Factory, Chennai.

Pushpam was one among 58 candidates declared medically unfit. She then filed an appeal for a medical re-examination, which was done. But Railways in a July 2, 2012, certificate opined that she was unfit for employment in A2 category. She then moved the CAT, which allowed her application following a decision by the High Court in 2013. The Railways then filed a petition against the HC order.

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