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Resource id #4 SC orders ramps for polling booths in cities - Volume 2 Issue 9: Disability News and Information Service for India

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Volume 2 Issue 9 - May 01, 2004

SC orders ramps for polling booths in cities

DNIS News Network -- On April 19, the Supreme Court ordered the State governments to provide wooden ramps as far as possible in all polling booths across the country for the second phase of elections, and without fail in the last two phases on May 5 and May 10.

The SC took into account the difficulties faced by the physically challenged in approaching the polling booths to cast their votes. The verdict should allow disabled voters to exercise their franchise without difficulty.

There was no expectation of the order being imposed for the first and second phase of polling, on April 21 and 22 as it was not deemed practical to provide the necessary facilities at such short notice.

The direction came after Disabled Rights Group (DRG), a non-political advocacy group for rights of people with disability, issued a Public Interest Litigation on the issue to the Supreme Court.

"Temporary wooden ramps at all polling stations, in all cities, all over the country will send a loud and clear message to policy makers not to take disabled people for granted anymore and give them their rightful place in society," said DRG convener Javed Abidi.

No special arrangements such as Braille facilities for the visually challenged people will be made. However, the SC has ordered that for all future elections, starting from September 2004, Braille labels giving the names and numbers of candidates should be on all EVMs. This is an expansion of the original request, which was limited to providing Braille numbers on EVMs.

The matter was kept pending with a view to implementing further measures in the Assembly Polls due in September.

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