ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ruled that under the federal and provincial laws, adherence to disability job quota extends to both public and private sectors.
A three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed issued the ruling in a case related to the rights of disabled people.
Earlier, the court had asked government officials to devise a detailed action plan coupled with a time frame to implement the 3pc job quota for people living with disabilities.
Govt officials directed to devise action plan to implement job quota, federal, provincial govts to furnish report on disabled employees in private sector
In its June 20 order, the bench explained that the private sector would also have to adhere to the job quota and compensate to the concerned social welfare funds in the absence of such recruitments.
However, before postponing further proceedings for six weeks, the court asked the federal and the provincial governments to furnish a comprehensive report on the employment of people with disabilities in the private sector.
The court also noted that some funds by the private sector had been received by the departments concerned of the four provinces and the federation, but told the governments to furnish an appropriate report regarding the utilisation of such funds.
The government's representatives also assured the court that a campaign would be launched to raise awareness of the importance of extending employment to people with disabilities.
The court ordered for copies of its order to be dispatched to the chief secretaries of all four provinces and the education secretary to ensure compliance with its directions.
During the proceedings, Mohammad Bilal, a petitioner, furnished a list of people employed on the disability quota despite not suffering from any disabilities.
But the court observed that the information was collected by the petitioner using his own resources and may not be complete, directing the federal and provincial governments to look into the matter and furnish a report before the court if need be.
Federal and provincial governments assured the court that in line with earlier directions, the process to recruit people with disabilities in various departments was underway and some appointments had also been made.
The court expressed confidence that the law ensuring job quotas for disabled people would be ensured in letter and spirit, and a detailed report would also be submitted to the court. The court cautioned that it would not expect any foot-dragging by anyone.
Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti also told the court that an earlier decision to disband the National Council for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons was being reconsidered, adding the federal government was already sensitive to the needs for the forum to address the grievances of disabled individuals.
One of the petitions, moved by senior counsel Raheel Kamran Sheikh, had requested the SC to order the federal government to ensure the collection of information on people with disabilities in the national population census, adding the lack of official data in this regard was the greatest hindrance to ensuring the effectiveness of any law or policy intended to assist such individuals, who were equal citizens and entitled to all the fundamental rights embodies in Chapter I of Part II of the Constitution.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2019