29 Nov 2012
New Delhi, India.
The Centre has told the Supreme Court that deaf and dumb government employees could not be equated with blind and physically handicapped ones, who face much more difficulty in commuting and are hence given double the transport allowance paid to other employees.
Citing a health ministry memorandum, the government said it was advised that "it would not be just and fair to equate the disability of deaf and dumb persons with those of blind persons in so far as grant of transport allowance facility is concerned".
The ministry in the 2003 memorandum said that deaf and dumb people generally do not require physical assistance for commuting to and from their residence to the place of duty. However, the proposal to give deaf and dumb employees enhanced transport allowance was again considered in 2006.
The Centre said the Sixth Central Pay Commission did not make any recommendation on this aspect while revising the transport allowance. “As per the recommendation of the commission, as accepted by the government, statusquo continues regarding the categories of physically disabled employees eligible for transport allowance at enhanced rate," it said.
"In view of the aforesaid position, it is not considered feasible to extend the benefit of enhanced transport allowance to hearing impaired employees," the government said. However,solicitor general R F Nariman sought 12 weeks time from a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra to make a fresh attempt to find an amicable resolution to the grievances of deaf and dumb employees.
A PIL filed by ‘Deaf Employees Welfare Association’ had alleged that the government remained unmoved despite several representations by hearing impaired employees seeking enhancement of transport allowance.