Volume 3 Issue 19 - October 01, 2005

Delhi H.C. issues notices to Government of India, Ministries concerned on issue of access

D.N.I.S. News Network - In a major impetus to the National Campaign for a Barrier-Free India by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.), the Delhi High Court has issued notices to various Ministries to file affidavits and status reports on steps taken to make facilities and infrastructure accessible as per The Disability Act 1995.

The Court issued the notices while hearing Public Interest Litigation filed in 2001 by N.C.P.E.D.P. Executive Director and Convenor Disabled Rights Group Javed Abidi. Despite, similar notices having been issued earlier, some of the respondents had failed to file affidavits, therefore, the High Court fixed a four weeks time, commencing on 28 September, for the next hearing.

The two- judge Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Vijender Jain and Hon’ble Justice Rekha Sharma, directed respondents to file the latest status report along with photographs of the site in which the facilities of ramps etc. have been provided for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

The Judge specifically asked Counsels appearing on behalf of the Indian Railways, Civil Aviation Ministry and Archaeological Survey of India to file their affidavits.

Advocate Ashok Aggarwal, who was appointed as Amicus Curiae by the Court during the previous hearing on 24 August 2005, presented a proposal for Court’s consideration for issuing necessary direction in the matter.

The Court accepted these proposals made by Amicus Curiae and asked the defendants to also submit their replies to these by 26 October 2005, which is the next date of the hearing.

While submitting the proposals, Amicus Curiae told the Court: “I have discussed the issues involved in the PIL with the representatives of various disabilities groups.”

Among the highlights of these proposals are: “Formulation of uniform and standardised guidelines on access for persons with disabilities in creating access in public areas, buildings and transport.”

“Setting up of high-level Committee for formulation, implementation and monitoring of universal design of built environment, transport and public utilities.” The proposed Committee would include “ representatives of disability groups.”

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