Vikash Kumar vs Union Public Service Commission


 Everyone is born unique. Everyone has some kind of ability that no one else on this planet can. Just like abilities, humans have unique problems as well. These range from being physically disabled, mentally disabled, and in some cases, both. The Constitution of India preaches equality and dreams of creating an egalitarian nation. However, humans are born unequally, an egalitarian preaching state must provide specific reasonable accommodations to compensate for their disability. For a state that dreams of equality, bureaucratic positions must also be provided equally. Candidates who have a physical disability are at a major disadvantage compared to physically normal candidates. To solve the issue of the physically disabled, the state has decided to provide specific allowances to the disabled so that they are on par with the physically fit candidates. The state offers Scribes (a person who physically writes your answers on your behalf), compensatory time, and facilities like washrooms for the disabled, etc., Vikash Kumar vs UPSC[1] is a case where the egalitarian preaching state decided not to give the service of a scribe to a person suffering from a Writer’s Cramp. This is a case where a physically unlucky man, tries his best to get a reasonable accommodation that he deserves, but the state declines to provide him with any.

Facts of the case

Vikash Kumar is the Appellant and the Union Public Service Commission is the Respondent. The Appellant has an MBBS degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Post Graduate Medical Institution(JIPMER). After his education, the Appellant decided to pursue Civil Services. The Appellant had a disability named Dysgraphia, also known as “Writer’s Cramp”. Writer’s Cramp is a physical disability that hampers the motor movements of the hand. The person suffering from this disability faces a hard time writing. The Appellant appeared for the Civil Service Examinations (CSE) 2017 with permission to have a scribe. The Department of Personnel and Training issued CSE rules 2018 which stated that a candidate cannot avail of the service of a scribe unless the candidate is either blind; a candidate has a locomotive disability; a candidate has cerebral palsy, or a candidate suffering from at least 40% of physical impairment. For CSE 2018, the Appellant’s application for a scribe was rejected because his physical disability was not more than 40%. The Appellant’s disability did not meet the benchmark criteria. Aggrieved by the rejection order, the Appellant filed a case at the Central administrative tribunal against the rejection order. The appellant also applied for a disability certificate from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. In an interim order, the tribunal allowed the appellant to attend the examination with a scribe. After the declaration of the results of the preliminary examination, the appellant found out that his results were not published. The tribunal later dismissed the interim order because the court has not received any disability certificate from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The tribunal also stated that the Appellant claimed a scribe, neither for his CSE 2017 examination nor for his MBBS graduation examination. The tribunal also rejected the certification of disability issued by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science (NIMHANS), Bangalore, because it failed to mention the extent of the disability. The Appellant filed a Writ petition before the High Court of Delhi. The Appellant also produced a medical disability certificate from NIMHANS Bangalore, which confirms his disability. The High court of Delhi upheld the order passed by the trial court, reasoning that the Appellant did not clear the Preliminaries of CSE 2018, for which he was provided with a scribe. Aggrieved by the order, the Appellant decided to file an appeal to the Supreme Court of India.

Issues involved

  1. Would a person suffering from physical incapabilities be denied from using a scribe for not qualifying the benchmark percentage set by the defendant in 2018?
  2. Does the CSE Rules of 2018 violate Section 20[2] of the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016 (RPwD Act, 2016), which allows “reasonable accommodation” for people with physical disabilities?

Arguments of the Appellant

The Learned counsel of the Appellant, Mr. Rajan Mani, had 5 main arguments to support his client:

  • The Appellant’s counsel argued that the Appellant falls under Section 2(s)[3] of the RPwD Act, 2016, which describes the meaning of “Person with a Disability”. According to the RPwD Act, 2016, a “person with a disability” is “a person with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others”.
  • The Learned counsel of the Appellant had to prove to the judges that the Writer’s Cramp or Dysgraphia is a physical disability. The Learned counsel proved it by referring to the Schedule of the RPwD Act, 2016. Schedule Section 2(a)[4] gives a list which consists of disabilities that are labelled “Specific Learning Disability”, and that list contains the name “Dysgraphia”.
  • The Appellant’s learned counsel argued that the CSE Rules of 2018 are violative of Section 20[5] of the RPwD Act, 2016 because it failed to provide “Reasonable accommodation” to the physically disabled candidates. Only blind, Locomotion disabled, cerebral palsy, and candidates suffering from physical disability of more than 40% are allowed for scribes. This fails to provide accommodation for those who are physically disabled but still are excluded from the exceptions mentioned by the CSE 2018 rules.
  • The Learned counsel of the Appellant also argued that the CSE Rules 2018 are violating Article 14[6] and Article 16(1)[7] of the Indian Constitution as the rules provide scribes for only a limited number of physically disabled people.
  • The Learned counsel of the Appellant argued that other examination institutions like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the University of Delhi recognised Writer’s Cramp as a physical disability and provided students suffering from such a disability with scribes.

Arguments of the defendant

The Learned counsel of the defendant, Mr. Naresh Kaushik, put forth 4 main arguments to support his client.

  1. The Learned counsel of the Defendant stated that a person with physical disabilities above the prescribed benchmark has to prove it by producing a medical certificate from a Chief Medical Officer(CMO) of a Government Healthcare Institution. The Medical certificate must also expressly mention the disability of the candidate and suggest a need for a scribe. The Appellant, in this case, declared himself as a benchmark candidate, without submitting the aforementioned certificate.
  2. The Learned counsel of the Defendant mentioned that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment(MSJE) opined that the Writer’s Cramp or Dysgraphia is not a disability. However, it indeed creates difficulties in writing. In these cases, the examining body has decided to provide compensatory time to create a level playing field.
  3. The Learned counsel of the Defendant argued that Writer’s cramp is not included in the Schedule of the RPwD act.
  4. The Learned counsel of the Defendant states that the Civil Service Examination is the most competitive examination in the country, and the board must provide a level playing field for every candidate. If rules on the allowance of scribes were made less strict, then a candidate who doesn’t need a scribe shall have an unfair advantage over the other.


The Supreme Court of India allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned order of the High court of Delhi. The Apex court opined that a person suffering from a disability cannot be denied the service of a scribe based on not clearing the benchmark disability. The court also stated that the reason for the incorporation of the RPwD Act, 2016 was to create a level playing field for all the candidates in every sector, regardless of their natural disabilities. The concept of “Reasonable Accommodation” was to satisfy the disability of naturally unlucky individuals and bring them on par with non-disabled candidates. Overruling the judgement of Surender Mohan’s case, the two-judge bench decided to provide reasonable accommodation to the disabled candidate even though he did not clear the benchmark disability.


The Learned judges of the Supreme Court decided this case on the “Reasonable accommodation” concept. The Apex court reasoned that reasonable accommodation must be given by looking into the disability of each candidate. A person in a wheelchair doesn’t need a scribe but a person with a broken finger does. I believe that the judgement given by the learned judges on the bench was a fair one and made sure that the concept of equality is maintained in this country. As the above-mentioned quote says, a society is judged by the way it treated its ill minority and this judgement proves that India is a society that can be placed at a higher scale. The judge’s decision to allow the appeal enforces the government’s willingness to protect the equity characteristic of the nation.

Author(s) Name: Ganesh Nair. J (Osmania University College of Law)


[1] Vikash Kumar v. Union Public Service Commission, (2021) Civil Appeal No. 273/2021.

[2] Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, § 20, No. 10, Act of Parliament, 2016

[3] Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, § 2(s), No. 10, Act of Parliament, 2016 (India).

[4] Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, § 2(zc), No. 10, Act of Parliament, 2016 (India).

[5] Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, § 20, No. 10, Act of Parliament, 2016 (India).

[6] INDIAN CONSTI. art 14.

[7] INDIAN CONSTI. art 16, cl.1.

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