Supreme Court : Deadlines for making Public Places Accessible To Visually Disabled

On the petition filed by a visually disabled Gurgaon resident Rajive Raturi, the Supreme Court issued some important directives and set deadlines while disposing of his petition. In his petition, he asked for proper and adequate access for such persons to public places. He works with a Human Rights organisation and in his petition, he submitted before the court that there are 60-70 million disabled persons in India, almost 50% thereof suffer from visual disability, and the fundamental concern of these visually impaired persons is safe accessibility to movement on footpaths and accessibility to roads and transport.

The bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan has discussed right of visually disabled persons at international and national level in an elaborate judgment.

“It becomes a statutory obligation on the part of the Central Government as well as the State Governments to do the needful by the target dates,” the bench observed. “Right to dignity, which is ensured in our Constitutional set up for every citizen applies with much more vigour in case of persons suffering from disability and, therefore, it becomes imperative to provide such facilities so that these persons also are ensured level playing field and not only they are able to enjoy life meaningfully, they contribute to the progress of the nation as well”, said the Bench.

The Bench has suggested some measures to be undertaken by the State authorities for removing obstacles that prevent the disabled from accessing public places, which are like, making the gates to public places accessible by incorporating necessary accessible standards; stair must be marked with a broad yellow line to allow the visually impaired to understand the difference in gradient; a minimum of 3-5 parking spaces near the entrance must be reserved for persons with disabilities; elevators must have clear Braille signs and auditory feedback, wheelchairs and mobility scooters should be available at every public place, and many more.The bench has also issued some other directives and set deadlines for them.


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