In a recent judgment, the Madurai bench of Madras High Court observed that a person who has to wear glasses for regular functioning cannot be disqualified from a job on account of poor vision without glasses, when the job description does not specify such visual standards and the work can be done even by wearing glasses.
The observations were made by the division bench comprising Justice MM Sundresh and Justice S Ananthi over the writ petitions filed by a group of bespectacled candidates who were disqualified from the post of Sub-Inspector of Police (Technical) and Sub-Inspector of Police (Finger Print) on account of their need to wear glasses.
Earlier, a single judge bench had allowed their writ petitions noting that the notification issued for the job post didn’t mention the visual standards. The order was later challenged by the state.
“Is a person, who could only perform a regular function by wearing glasses would become disentitle to a post he can otherwise perform, by making an assessment qua the eyesight without wearing glasses?” said the division bench.
The court further added, “The question is the suitability to the job and not otherwise. The classification sought to be made is certainly violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India (right to equality). If it is approved, a candidate, who is wearing specs would become disentitled for being considered to the post. It is an indirect way of fixing qualification on the sole premise that a candidate wearing glasses cannot be considered. One has to see the eligibility and suitability of the candidate to the post, but such eligibility cannot be fixed on the basis of a candidate without specs, vis-a-vis, a candidate with specs.”
The bench noted that any insufficiency or inadequate eyesight or visual deficiency of the candidates would go once glasses are worn. The court further added that in such a case, the bespectacled person becomes eligible on par with others performing without glasses.
The court dismissed the state’s appeal and issued the directions to provide appointment orders to all the aggrieved candidates within 6 weeks.