Mohammad Sarwar Hossain Khan and others v Bangladesh and others [‘Disability Discrimination’ Case]

Writ Petition No. 3437/1997

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Facts: Mohammad Sarwar Hossain Khan, Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman and Md. Mir Ashraf Hossain, all graduates from Dhaka University, and all having visual disabilities, filed a writ petition challenging the failure of the Public Service Commission (PSC) to issue admit cards to them for the 18th Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) Examinations. The petitioners submitted their application forms in due compliance with the eligibility criteria and with the consent of the Chairman, PSC. The Secretary, PSC, however, refused to issue admit cards to them and verbally informed them that the permission of the Ministry of Establishment would be necessary for them to sit for the examinations. The Ministry of Social Welfare made intimations on behalf of the petitioners to the Ministry of Establishment, but no progress could be made and the petitioners could not appear in the Examinations.

Argument: The petitioners argued that the PSC’s failure to issue admit cards to them was in violation of Section 8(ja) of the National Policy for the Disabled, inasmuch as they satisfied all eligibility criteria and could not be denied the opportunity to appear for the BCS Examination. They also argued that this action was in violation of their fundamental rights to equality before the law, equality of opportunity in public employment and the right to be treated in accordance with law, pursuant to Articles 27, 29 and 31 read with Article 15 of the Constitution.

Order: The High Court issued a Rule Nisi on 23.06.1997 calling upon the Ministry of Establishment, the Controller of Examinations and the Chairman, PSC to show cause why the failure to issue admit cards to these visually disabled persons should not be declared to be without lawful authority and of no lawful effect.

Status: Pending for hearing.

Laws Cited: Constitution, Articles 27, 29, 31 and 15, National Policy for Disabled.


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