Private firms not bound to re-deploy disabled employees: apex court

Private firms not bound to re-deploy disabled employees: apex court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has upheld the sacking of an employee who became deaf during his employment and said private employers were not under any legal obligation to re-deploy such persons in some other posts.

The apex court said the statutory provision which mandates that an employee who is disabled during the course of his employment should be re-deployed in some other posts instead of being sacked would apply only to in government service.

“Private employers, whether individuals, partnerships, proprietary concerns or companies (other than government companies) are clearly excluded from the ‘establishments’ to which section 47 of the Act will apply," a three-judge bench of justices R.V. Raveendran, R.M. Lodha and C.K. Prasad said in a judgement.

The apex court passed the judgement while quashing a Bombay high court order which directed Dalco Engineering Private Ltd to re-deploy S.P. Padhye, a telephone operator whose sevices were terminated after he developed 85% hearing impairment.

The high court held that the Dalco, though a private limited company, was an “establishment" as defined under section 2(k) of the “Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995" Act and consequently section 47 of the Act enjoined it not to dispense with the services of its employee who developed a disability.

Aggrieved, the company appealed in the apex court contending that provisions of the Act would not apply to private organisations.