4 Jan 2022 10:40 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the State government to carry out a survey to ascertain the number of blind students who are studying in government and private schools and are in need of braille textbooks. A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said,"You are providing textbooks only to special schools. What about students studying...
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the State government to carry out a survey to ascertain the number of blind students who are studying in government and private schools and are in need of braille textbooks.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said,
"You are providing textbooks only to special schools. What about students studying in other schools? Do you intend to provide textbooks to them?".
Advocate Varsha R Iyengar, appearing for the petitioner, National Federation of the Blind, Karnataka, informed the court that textbooks are being provided to blind students studying in special schools only. However, there are a large number of visually disabled students who are taking education in government and private schools, who are not getting the textbooks.
The government advocate informed the court that efforts are being made to upload the books on the government website and so far 44 titles have been converted into unicode and uploaded. However, it was pointed out by the petitioners that the uploaded material is in PDF format and thus not compatible.
Following which the court observed, "The petition is of the year 2019 and by this time it should have been done." The court even suggested the government to consider the practices followed in other countries for providing textbooks to visually disabled students.
The court then directed the government to carry out a survey and submit a report to the court on the number of students studying in the government and private schools.
"Ensure by next academic year the textbooks are made available," the Court said orally.
The petition was filed on behalf of the children who are specially-abled. The contention of the petitioner is that in the State of Karnataka, textbooks are not available in Braille and they have also not been uploaded on the website in PDF form so that a printout can be taken in Braille.
The court in its order dated March 18, 2020, had taken on record a memo filed by the state government in which it was said that the Karnataka Text Book Society has already provided the PDF files of Classes 1 to 10 of the Kannada Medium to Braille Press, Mysuru.
The memo also mentioned that the said printing press is preparing the textbooks in Braille and the textbooks to the children with visual disabilities will be provided as per the indent given by Samagra Shikshana Karnataka. The learned Additional Government Advocate, on instructions, had said that the textbooks in Braille for Class 1 to 10 of the Kannada medium will be available from the next academic year.
The court by its order dated September 17, 2021 had directed the State government to positively provide textbooks in Braille for all special children (visual disabilities), within 15 days.
Case Title: The National Federation Of The Blind, Karnataka v. State Of Karnataka
Case No: WP 52201/2019