Mr. Mukesh Jitendra Shah has several medical issues like problems with his knees, high Blood Pressure and diabetes along with 40% blindness in legal terms. He is completely blind in one eye and has 6/28 eyesight in the other eye. Hence, has been considered one eyed due to Diabetic Retinopathy since 2003. Before this, he was employed at SBI Ahmedabad in 1984 as a clerk. He was promoted to scale I officer as Assistant Manager (Systems – dealings in softwares) in 1995. In August 2012 he was again due for promotion on the basis of his seniority, but he was denied the promotion due to him being one eyed. He went for the interview, but was declared unfit during medical examination. SBI issued a circular in July 2012 according to which, either employees having eyesight in one eye or those having degenerative eye disorders are not eligible for promotion. He also informed us that he has been transferred to Junagarh which is 350 km away from his hometown.
The 52-year-old Mukesh from Ahmadabad, Gujarat contacted us in April, 2013 hoping for some respite from his dilemma on the advice of one of our Baroda-based client who had earlier benefited from our help.
He primarily had two problems, the issue regarding transfer and the issue of promotion on the basis of his seniority. He was asked by his office to join the Junagarh branch from April 13th 2013 which is 350 Km away from Ahmedabad. Staying away from his home was difficult for him, as he has a number of medical problems apart from blindness. The Helpdesk apprised him about a circular by Ministry of Finance regarding ‘Exemption from Routine Periodical Transfer of Employees with Disabilities’ which could be used to sway the matter in his favor, since he is an employee with disability in the legal terms. We emailed him the circular right away.
As far as promotion was concerned, we suggested that he give a presentation stating that he is having 40% disability which means he very much comes under the purview of disability according to Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation)Act, 1995. This meant that he was eligible to make use of Section 47’s Clause 2 – ‘No promotion shall be denied to a person merely on the ground of his disability, provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type of work carried on in any establishment, by notification and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notification, exempt any establishment from the provisions of this section.’
On 19th of February 2014, he informed us that his transfer to Junagarh was cancelled in September 2013 thanks to the circular of Ministry of Finance we have provided him. As far as his promotion was concerned, he was not given promotion inspite of having 40% visual impairment, as according to the bank’s policy one-eyed candidate’s are not eligible promotion, with which he was satisfied and did not make much efforts for promotion.
We would like to take the example of this case to mention that denial of promotion due to degenerative eye disorder does not seem to be logical when there are possibilities of managing most office related tasks with the help of assistive technology. In Mukesh’s case, had his office been a little accommodating and open in their approach, with the simple provision of magnifying softwares, a little faith Mukesh’s capabilities and the desire to invest in him, the task would have been quite doable. This would also have helped many employees with disabilities future from undue discrimination.