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HC tells Maha govt to allocate devices for disabled by May 31

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Bombay High Court has given the Maharashtra government time till May 31 to make budgetary allocations for importing special devices, gadgets and softwares for its employees with disabilities

high-courtMumbai: The Bombay High Court has given the Maharashtra government time till May 31 to make budgetary allocations for importing special devices, gadgets and softwares for its employees with disabilities.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha had earlier in March directed the government to make the budgetary allocations by March 31.

However, earlier this week, additional government pleader G W Mattos sought extension of time.

“Time limit is extended upto 31 May 2014. No further extension will be granted,” the court ordered and posted the petition for hearing on June 19.

The court had taken up the issue of providing devices, gadgets and softwares for employees with disabilities while hearing a petition filed by one Nilima Surve challenging an order dated October 30, 2010, by the Commissioner for disabilities upholding her termination from a city college for clerical errors.

Surve was appointed as a junior clerk-cum-typist at Chetana’s Hazarimal Somani College of Commerce at suburban Bandra in November 2006 and dismissed in March 2007 on the grounds that her “work was not satisfactory and there were typing errors”.

Surve had then sought for software to assist her in her work which was not allowed. The High Court had earlier ordered the college to permit Surve to resume work. The court had then taken up the issue of providing devices to assist disabled persons with their work.

On March 21, the state social justice and special assistance department had informed the court that out of 18,558 employees with disabilities, 8244 employees asked for special devices, gadgets and software but it has been provided to only 4,511 employees.

According to the affidavit, the devices have to be imported and their rates keep changing due to foreign currency fluctuations.

“Such foreign exchange fluctuations are a permanent feature and, therefore, cannot be a ground for delay in making budgetary allocations for importing such devices, gadgets and softwares. The state government will have to factor in the likely fluctuation for estimating the foreign exchange required to purchase such devices/gadgets/softwares while making such budgetary allocations. This shall be done by 31 March 2014,” the court had ordered on March 24.

PTI

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