As right pointed out by the learned Counsel for the petitioner, there is no provision dealing with multiple disability in PWD Act, 1995. Here is a case in which the first respondent has blindness to an extent of 30% and 15% locomotor disability, which is definitely more than 40% prescribed in the statutory notification issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as per the relevant provisions of PWD Act, 1995. Just because there is no provision for ‘multiple disability’ in PWD Act, 1995, is it right to deny the opportunity to the first respondent, is the question?
Let us assume that only one person having hearing impairment of 40% and above and one person having locomotor disability or cerebral palsy of 40% and above are found to be eligible. Then those two persons would be appointed. Let us assume that there is no person having blindness of low vision of 40% and above. If there is a person who has a blindness of 25% and hearing impairment of 15% such a person would be a person with multiple disability as per Section 2(h) of Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 i.e., Act, 44 of 1999 which has come into existence from 30.12.1999. The Subsequent Act i.e., Act 4 of 1999 is in addition to the existing benevolent welfare legislation i.e, PWD Act, 1995 and not in derogation of the same.
If a strict interpretation were to be adopted, a person having multiple disability with 25% low vision and 15% locomotor disability would not be considered for appointment under the reservation as per Section 33 and the same would go to a general category and not the definition of either of these two Acts under the hypothetical circumstance given above. This hard reality will also have to be kept in mind in order to give a liberal interpretation to the words ‘multiple disability’.
2015 LAB. I. C. 1626 (DB) Karnataka High Court (Decided on 27.10.2014)