Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/ST quota: Supreme Court

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News: The Supreme Court has said that persons suffering from disabilities are also socially backward and entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and education.

Facts:

  • Background: A petition was filed by a special needs person against the Government College of Arts, Chandigarh.The college had denied the relaxation in minimum qualifying marks in an Art course.
    • The college insisted that disabled persons too need to meet the general qualifying standard of 40% in the aptitude test whereas SC/ST candidates were given a relaxation to 35%.
  • Significance: This judgement has upheld a 2012 judgment of the Delhi High Court in Anmol Bhandari v. Delhi Technological University case which held that people suffering from disabilities are entitled to the same benefits as given to SC/STs.

Additional Facts:

Constitutional Provisions for SCs and STs:

  • Article 15(4)- It empowers the State to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Article 16(4A) – It empowers the state to make provisions for reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favor of SC/STs which in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  • Article 46 – The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.