A division bench comprising justices V Ramasubramanian and T Mathivanan gave the direction while dismissing a petition by Chief Personal Officer of Southern Railway, denying appointment to a woman on the ground that she was a diabetic.

"In the absence of any scientific evidence to show that a diabetic will not be able to discharge the duties of office, it is not possible to accept the stand taken by the authorities," the judges said.

The bench added, ” This was especially in view of the fact that India has become the world's diabetic capital, probably due to the concerted efforts taken in the past five decades by the food, fertiliser, pharmaceutical and beverage industries." The court pointed out that a global report by the Indian Diabetes Research Foundation had stated that 40.9 million Indians are diabetic.

"Therefore, it is not possible to accept that they are unemployable or that if employed, they would become a liability on the employer," it cited. Railways had challenged the order Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras Bench, directing it to appoint a woman candidate Pushpam to a suitable Grade D post in 12 weeks.

On November 24, 2007, the Deputy Chief Personnel Officer had issued a notification to fill up 3698 Group 'D' posts in SR and in Integral Coach Factory, Chennai. Pushpam was one among 58 candidates declared medically unfit. She then filed an appeal for a medical re-examination, which was done. But Railways in a July 2 2012 certificate opined that she was unfit for employment in A2 category.

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