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Kerala HC Directs Kochi Corporation, PWD To Make Footpaths, Roads More Accessible To Differently Abled

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
19 Nov 2020 4:23 AM GMT
Kerala HC Directs Kochi Corporation, PWD To Make Footpaths, Roads More Accessible To Differently Abled
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The Kerala High Court has held that the Corporation of Kochi as well as the Public Works Department are duty bound under law to make necessary arrangements in the footpaths and the road so as to enable differently abled persons to access the roads and the footpaths to their convenience.Differently abled people like any other citizens are entitled to enjoy the fruits of life and liberty...

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The Kerala High Court has held that the Corporation of Kochi as well as the Public Works Department are duty bound under law to make necessary arrangements in the footpaths and the road so as to enable differently abled persons to access the roads and the footpaths to their convenience.

Differently abled people like any other citizens are entitled to enjoy the fruits of life and liberty guaranteed under article 21 of the constitution of India, the court observed. The bench comprising of the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly directed the Corporation as well as PWD  to maintain and repair, and make arrangements for the roads and the footpaths under their respective control so as to enable the differently abled persons to access them appropriately.

The order is passed in a PIL filed by Dr. PA Mary Anitha, the Chairperson of an NGO namely Centre for Empowerment and Enrichment (CEFEE). She submitted before the court that the poor maintenance of the footpaths and the roads is causing difficulties to the differently abled people to use the roads and the footpaths basically due to the unscientific nature of constructions carried out and the poor and timely maintenance.

Referring to the provisions of Kerala Municipality Act, 1994, the bench observed that the Corporation is endowed with the duty to provide necessary amenities and convenience to the general public, which includes the duty and responsibility to maintain the roads and footpaths so as to cater to the needs of the differently abled persons. The court said:

"They are also entitled to enjoy the other fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens under the Constitution to the extent possible for them. That apart, the State has a duty as per the directive principles of state policy under Part 1V of the Constitution to secure a social order for W.P.(C) No. 24850/2018 : 13 : the promotion of welfare of the people, which includes the special and essential requirements of the differently abled citizens and therefore, it is the inevitable function of the State and the local bodies to look after the affairs of the differently abled citizens also. Which thus means, any failure on the part of the State Government or the authority concerned to discharge such duties can only be viewed as a serious and unpardonable lapse justifying a writ court to step in to issue necessary directions. Now, after the introduction of Part 1XA to the Constitution of India dealing with Municipalities on and with effect from 01-06- 1993, the Municipalities are liable to discharge such functions entrusted with them thereunder."

While issuing directions to the PWD and Corporation, the Court observed that steps shall be taken immediately and without fail and all the works to the extent possible shall be completed at the earliest and at any rate, within three months.

CASE: DR. P.A. MARY ANITHA vs. CORPORATION OF KOCHI [ W.P.(C) No. 24850/2018] 
CORAM: Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly 
COUNSEL: Adv M.A.VAHEEDA BABU, Adv SAREENA GEORGE, Sr. GP ARAVINDA KUMAR BABU

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