Buildings Not Disabled-Friendly; SC Pulls Up Centre

Buildings Not Disabled-Friendly; SC Pulls Up Centre


“You launched 'Accessible India' campaign in December 2015 to make 50 per cent of the buildings in each of state capitals accessible to disabled persons. But what have you done. We do not see anything.Till now nothing has been done. The ministry concerned has not taken any steps with regard to implementation of the law or the campaign. Is this the way government functions?. Its Central Coordination Committee of it also has not met for the last four years. This is not acceptable” : SC to Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar


The Centre was today pulled up by the Supreme Court for not doing enough to make government buildings disabled-friendly in the national and state capitals and said the ministry concerned did hardly anything in the past couple of years despite launching the ‘Accesible India’ campaign with great fanfare.

“You launched 'Accessible India' campaign in December 2015 to make 50 per cent of the buildings in each of state capitals accessible to disabled persons. But what have you done. We do not see anything.Till now nothing has been done. The ministry concerned has not taken any steps with regard to implementation of the law or the campaign. Is this the way government functions?. Its Central Coordination Committee of it also has not met for the last four years. This is not acceptable” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.

“The Accessible India campaign was launched in 2015 and now we are in the end of 2016. Tell us how many building in Delhi you (Centre) have made disabled-friendly?” the bench said.

Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, said that the central government has completed the work in over 50 buildings after doing the access audit.

The act to make a bulding disabled-friendly has been conducted in over 26 such structures of the Delhi government, the law officer said.

To this, the bench asked the SG to give the list of 50 buildings which have been made friendly for the differently abled people and what is the target for 2017 and 2018 for Delhi and other state capitals.

The SG said that under the campaign, the target is to make at least 50 per cent government buildings disabled-friendly in Delhi and each of the state capitals till May 2018 and make 25 per cent of the public transport vehicles under the governments disabled-friendly till mid-2017. The bench asked the SG which is the department concerned responsible for implementation of the scheme and law and who is the minister concerned.

Kumar said that the department for the implementation of campaign is Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and after initial reluctance named the minister concerned Thawar Chand Gehlot.

He said that the central government is serious and trying to do everything possible and is committed to uplift of the differently abled. He claimed the previous governments did not take the matter that seriously. To this, the bench said that the central government has to ensure that the law has been implemented for the differently abled.

The solicitor general said that lot needs to be done on this front and the government will ensure that the campaign and law are implemented. The Centre also filed the status report with regard to the implementation of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. On November 22, the apex court had directed the secretary of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to be present in-person along with the relevant records. The bench was hearing a petition filed by one Rajive Raturi seeking implementation of the Act and facilities for differently abled in government buildings and public places.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.