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THE Supreme Court has ruled that a company registered under the Companies Act, other than a government company, is not an ‘establishment’ for the purpose of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. So, the social liability imposed on such establishment cannot be foisted on the private employers, said apex court, setting aside a Bombay High Court order.

“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”, said a bench comprising Justice RV Raveendran, Justice RM Lodha and Justice CK Prasad.

The court said: “If the intention of the legislature was to prevent discrimination of persons with disabilities in any kind of employment, the marginal note would have simply described the provision as ‘non-discrimination in employment’ and sub-section (1) of section 47 would have simply used the word ‘any employer’ instead of using the word establishment and then taking care to define the word ‘establishment’.”

The HC had directed Dalco Engineering to reinstate an employee who had become deaf and unfit for service. As per the provision of the Act of 1995, he should have been allowed to continue in the company in some suitable post other than telephone operator.

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