26 Sep 2023 4:30 AM GMT
Recently, the Thiruvallur District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum bench comprising S.M. Latha Maheswari (President) and P. Murugan (Member) ordered Gokulam Cinemas to pay ₹1 lakh as compensation to the complainant with disability for neither providing elevators nor ramps to the cinema, which violated the Disability Act of 2006. The bench further directed the District...
Recently, the Thiruvallur District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum bench comprising S.M. Latha Maheswari (President) and P. Murugan (Member) ordered Gokulam Cinemas to pay ₹1 lakh as compensation to the complainant with disability for neither providing elevators nor ramps to the cinema, which violated the Disability Act of 2006. The bench further directed the District Collector (Tiruvallur) to take necessary action against Gokulam Cinemas.
Mr. S. Sureshkumar (“Complainant”), a resident of Kundrathur, Tamil Nadu, who has a locomotor disability of 60%, visited Gokulam Cinemas in Poonamallee in May 2022 to watch the Tamil movie "Nenjukku Neethi." However, upon entering the cinema premises, he discovered that the screening was situated on the second floor of the complex. To his dismay, he found that there were no elevators or ramps available to facilitate access for individuals with disabilities.
The Complainant alleged that Gokulam Cinemas had violated the Disability Act of 2006 by not providing the necessary accessibility features in their newly constructed cinema complex. He further asserted that the District Collector was also at fault for granting a license to the cinema hall without conducting a proper inspection. The crux of his complaint was the lack of accessibility facilities, specifically elevators or ramps, in the cinema complex, which caused him significant physical discomfort and distress.
Gokulam Cinemas disputed the Complainant’s allegations and argued that he was not present on their premises on the date in question to watch the movie. They accused the Complainant of attempting to mislead the Commission by presenting a movie ticket that may have been borrowed from another person. Gokulam Cinemas also claimed that the installation of elevators could not be completed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, the District Collector contended that there was no specific cause of action against him in the complaint. He argued that the Complainant did not clearly state how he had committed any deficiency in service or negligence. The District Collector sought the dismissal of the complaint against him, stating that there was no privity between the Complainant and his office regarding the matter.
Observations by the Commission:
The District Commission ruled in favour of the Complainant, holding both Gokulam Cinemas and the District Collector jointly responsible for committing negligence and deficiency in service. The District Commission noted that the Complainant had a 60% locomotor disability, as evidenced by his Disability Certificate and Disability Pass Book. The lack of elevators or ramps in the cinema complex, despite the provisions of the Disability Act 2006, amounted to a clear violation of the law.
The District Commission emphasized that according to Article 41 of the Constitution of India, states should make provisions to secure the rights of individuals with disabilities, including access to public places. It also cited Chapter 8 of the Disability Act 2006, which mandates accessibility features in buildings and facilities for persons with disabilities.
Consequently, the District Commission ordered Gokulam Cinemas to pay ₹1 lakh (Rupees one lakh) as compensation to the Complainant for the mental agony and hardship he endured due to the lack of accessibility features within the cinema complex. Additionally, Gokulam Cinemas was directed to pay ₹10,000 (Rupees ten thousand) towards the Complainant’s litigation expenses. The District Collector was instructed to take necessary action against Gokulam Cinemas within four weeks from the date of receiving the order for its deviation from rules and regulations.
Case: S. Suresh vs. The Manager i/c, Gokulam Cinemas
Case No.: CC/14/2023
Advocate for the Complainant: Party in Person
Advocate for the Opposite Party(s): M.V. Seshacthri