High Court seeks action plan on issues of disabled persons

‘In case of failure, we would be constrained to direct the personal appearance of Secretary Social Welfare’
High Court seeks action plan on issues of disabled persons
File Photo of Jammu and Kashmir High Court

The High Court on Thursday directed the government to inform it within four weeks about the detailed action plan to deal with issues of disabled persons in Jammu and Kashmir.

Disapproving the dilatory approach of the social welfaredepartment to report about the action plan, division bench of Chief JusticeGita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar said the present case was a fit case forrequiring the appearance of Secretary, Department of Social Welfare.

State's deputy advocate general Feroz Ahmad Sheikh, however,requested for giving one opportunity to the authorities to place before thecourt the detailed action plan dealing with all issues. Following thesubmission the court granted four weeks' time to place the action plan beforeit.              

Meanwhile the court impleaded Department of Law, Justice andParliamentary Affairs, Higher Education Department, Technical EducationDepartment, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), IGP Traffic and TransportCommissioner as party respondents in the Public Interest Litigation.  

State's senior additional advocate general B A Dar acceptednotice on behalf of these departments except for SMC. Advocate Moomin Khanaccepted notice for SMC.    

In response to the submission by the petitioner JavedTakthat the issues related to disabled persons are not sufficiently addressed inengineering and architectural institutions and that this needs to be made aspecific part of curriculum, the court issues a slew of directions in thisregard.       

The court directed Secretary Higher Education and TechnicalEducation Department to place before it the status report regarding theinclusion of courses and subjects relating to the rights and requirement of thedisabled in the institutions undertaking education in engineering andarchitecture courses.  

The court directed Principal Secretary, Department of Law,Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to report about the notification of the rulesunder the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 1998. The Court also directedSMC and the traffic authorities to place before it their action plan and stepstaken to ensure that the pavements and roads are disable friendly.   

Dismayed over the government's failure to place before courtthe steps taken for undertaking a census of persons with disability which ithad noted in order dated 27 November 2018, the court said:" The first order inthis case was passed on 17 September 2018. Ten months have passed since thenwithout the Government having even begun any measures".    

With regard to the access audits, time was sought on behalfof Nipman Foundation to place the status report with regard to the accessaudits undertaken by them in respect of Court complexes in Jammu and Srinagar,the court granted four weeks of time to the Foundation to do so.

Observing that in case action was not taken on the severalsteps noted by it, the bench said: "We would be constrained to direct thepersonal appearance of the Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, J&K".

The court also directed the department to inform it as towhen the disability training was being undertaken in Leh and Kargil.             

After the petitioner's submission that no steps were takento ensure that public transport is disabled friendly as the respondents wereproposing to purchase only five percent low floor buses, the court said: "Thisis in violation of the statutory provisions as well as several judicialprecedents on this subject".  Listing thecase for further hearing on 3 September, the court directed the authorities tofile the status reports by the next date of hearing.

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