News

Volume 4 Issue 8 - April 15, 2006

Disabled girl’s dream of joining I.A.S. nipped in the bud

D.N.I.S. News Network- With barely a month to go before the Civil Services Examination (Preliminary), a bright young disabled woman is struggling hard to keep alive her dream of joining India’s elite bureaucratic service.

This has nothing to do with her physical disability, which does not allow her to use her upper limbs, but with an insensitive administrative set up and a warped understanding of rules. There are jobs identified for people with disability of upper limbs, but they are not allowed to use services of a scribe to write the examination as the facility is allowed only to visually impaired candidate.

Chandigarh-based Sunita Dogra has been a bright student and has used the services of a scribe to write her exams all through her education. She has a medical certificate stating that she has 90 per cent disability in her upper limbs.

Sunita wrote to the Union Service Public Commission (U.P.S.C.) to be permitted to use a scribe on account of her disability to write the Preliminary exam, the first of the three-tier selection procedure, to be held on 14 May 2006.

In a letter dated 7 February, the Commission parroted the following: “As per existing rules of the Civil Services Examination, which are framed and notified by Department of Personnel and Training (D.o.P.T.), Government of India, all candidates other than those belonging to visually impaired category are to write the papers with their own hands. Only the visually impaired are allowed writing the examination with the help of a scribe.”

She was shocked to read the reply and approached the office of Chief Commissioner for Person with Disabilities (C.C.P.D.). The Commission took up her case in earnest and passed a direction stating that the relevant rules must be amended and appropriate instructions be issued so that a person with disability of upper limbs for whom a post is identified is not deprived of the equal opportunity to write the exam. Despite the above direction that was issued on 7 March, nothing has been heard from the U.P.S.C.

“I have aimed for the Indian Administrative Services (I.A.S.) all my life. With great difficulty I earned B.Ed and M.A. degrees, and even managed distinctions. Never have I been denied a scribe for writing the exam. My medical certificate confirms that my hands do not work. I hope U.P.S.C. does not expect me to write I.A.S. exams with my feet,” she said in an interview to a newspaper recently.

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