Imperative to provide facilities to differently-abled: SC

The bench said that deadline of December this year, set by accessible India campaign (AIC), to make 20 to 50 important state government buildings in 50 cities fully accessible should be met.

PTI
New Delhi, Publish Date: Dec 16 2017 12:04AM | Updated Date: Dec 16 2017 12:04AM
Imperative to provide facilities to differently-abled: SCFile Photo

The Supreme Court today said it was imperative to provide proper and safe access to roads, transport, buildings and public places to differently-abled persons so that they could enjoy a meaningful life and contribute to the progress of the nation.

The top court said right to dignity, which is ensured in the constitutional set up for every citizen, applies with much more vigour in cases of persons suffering from disability and it was duty of the State and public authorities to lay down proper norms in this regard.

A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan passed a slew of directions, including that all government buildings providing any services to the public be made fully accessible to differently-abled persons by June 2019 as per provision of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

The bench said that deadline of December this year, set by accessible India campaign (AIC), to make 20 to 50 important state government buildings in 50 cities fully accessible should be met.

On the issue of making 50 per cent of all the government buildings in the national capital and all state capitals fully accessible by December 2018, the court said though deadline for identifying such buildings was fixed as February 28 this year, only seven states have done this as per a status report of August 2017.

"Remaining states are directed to identify the buildings by February 28, 2018 and it is made clear that no further time in this behalf shall be granted. Insofar as deadline for retrofitting is concerned, the work should be completed by December 2018," the court said in its 78-page judgement.

It also directed the states to identify 10 most important cities or towns and complete the accessibility audit of 50 per cent of government buildings at these places by February 28 next year and complete the retrofitting work by December 2019.

Regarding Central government buildings, the bench said that the work be completed by August next year.

The bench referred to the provision of the 2016 Act and said it provides for comprehensive accessibility to disabled persons in all modes of transport.

"Therefore, it becomes the duty of the union, states as well as union territories to ensure that all government buses are disabled friendly in accordance with the harmonized guidelines," it said, while asking authorities to ensure that even the private buses become disabled friendly. 

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