Chandigarh: After three civil surgeons who used fake disabilities certificates to get promotions were suspended or demoted recently in Punjab, it has come to light that at least 1.17 lakh applicants applied for fake disabilities certificates between 2018 and 2022 to either get government jobs, promotions, pension or other social welfare scheme benefits in the state. And many were able to avail the benefits like these medical officers.
Punjab has a disability population of 6.54 lakh according to the 2011 Census. Shockingly, its Social Welfare Department received 4.54 lakh applications more to be included in the disabled category to get the benefit of jobs, promotions, and pensions in the last four years. After carrying out a medical examination and upon verification, it was found that 1.17 lakh applications were found to be fake.
According to the rules laid down in The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules 2017 Act, a person is considered to be disabled if he or she has more than 40 per cent physical disability. However, most of those who submitted applications between 2018 and 2022 for getting a disability certificate did not even have 20 per cent of the disability.
Importantly, some of the applications rejected, comprise people who had lost half a finger in an accident or had an extra thumb or congenitally had one of the toe-fingers missings. In many cases ‘deafness’ was shown to be the disability, though, the person falls in the category of those “hard of hearing.”
In one such case from Sangrur, the applicant sought a disability certificate stating that he suffered a major injury to his leg in an accident. The medical board found a minor after-effect post the accident but it was far from being disabled.
Another applicant from Hoshiarpur cited weak eyesight as the reason for seeking a disability quota. The applicant seeking quota under the disability category wore thick eyeglasses while in yet another case a woman from Barnala had lost a part of her finger and had sought disability quota due to that.
Thousands Avail Benefits Owing To Fake Certificates
Earlier, Members of the Disabled Persons Association had made allegations against seven agriculture department officials who secured government jobs allegedly on the basis of fake disability certificates. When they were asked to present themselves before the medical board that assesses disability, they skipped it.