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Shailesh Gandhi

22 February 2006

In all societies, there is a conscious effort to give some advantage to those discriminated against because of their ethnicity or some disability, physical or financial. Even people who do not really subscribe to this view, make an attempt to be politically correct and practise their discrimination without leaving a paper trail of any overt discrimination against the disadvantaged or dispossessed.

My faith in this paradigm took a beating when a blind young man sought my help. Chandrakant Sasane is 31 and belongs to a scheduled caste. He holds an M.A. degree in Social Work. He said that though he was selected for the position of lecturer at Mumbai's N G Acharya and D K Marathe College of Arts and Science, the college did not appoint him to the post. I was skeptical about his story.

Still, using the Right To Information law, I asked for documentary evidence from the college as well as from Bombay University. The college has not replied, and one will have to take recourse to the penal provisions of RTI to bring them to respond. But the information given by the Bombay University is alarming.

On 14 September 2004, a Bombay University selection committee -- with seven of its eight members present -- unanimously selected Chandrakant Sasane for appointment as lecturer to teach the Foundation Course in Philosophy at the college. The post was reserved for SC/ST and six candidates had been interviewed. The selection committee also included the Principal Dr D M Muley and the Head of Department, Professor A V Desai, of the same college. On 16 September 2005 the university followed up and sent a recommendation to the college to appoint him.

For reasons we have to guess at, the college did not issue the letter of appointment to Sasane.

However, on 19 April 2005, without assigning any reasons, the college asked the University for permission to advertise for the same post on 11 July. The university refused permission, since the college had not appointed Sasane! While the elite of Mumbai laugh at Bihar, this is the story of a blind young man waiting for a job for about seventeen months now, in Chembur, Mumbai.

The Right To Information law will continue to help expose misdeeds and common citizens everywhere will seek accountability.

Shailesh Gandhi
22 Feb 2006

Shailesh Gandhi is a Mumbai based Right to Information activist and Working Committee member of National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI).

Citizen Direct is India Together's channel for publishing reports from citizens who have detailed information about specific civil society concerns and matters, by virtue of their participation, association, or independent observation. These reports are therefore as witnessed and understood by the authors themselves; India Together accepts no liability or responsibility for them.   More

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  • Posted by Moiz Tundawala on March 6, 2006 09:42 AM

    It is a pity that the RTI Act can only be made use to target government machinery. Why can't we have the same law for the private sector? Discrimination in its worst form takes place in the private sector. I know of a person who is visually challenged and has cleared both the NET and SLET for lecturership. In spite of being very qualified, and doing very well in her interviews for many colleges, she has not yet been inducted. Her dissatisfaction with the system is such that she refuses to appear for any more interviews. I know she is a very talented lady. If a law can't help her, I am afraid I have to say that it serves no purpose. Our education system is missing out on such brilliant minds just because of the stratified structure of our society.

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