PIL seeking to avoid expressions 'mentally retarded, sick, handicapped’ | Specially- abled persons be treated properly by the language recognized internationally : HC

 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar, Dec 6: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has observed that the specially able persons be treated properly by the language recognized internationally.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Rahul Bharti also expressed “hope and trust” that the society as a whole shall recognize their rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.

The Court said this while Issuing notice to Centre as well as J&K government on a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by advocate BadrulDuja.

 The PIL is seeking directions to restrain the government as well as general public from mentioning or referring persons with disabilities or specially able persons as “mentally retarded, sick, unfortunate, handicapped person, abnormal, mental, poor, unfortunate person, crippled, deformed , mad person, dwarf, wheelchair bound, dwarf, albino, disabled, mongoloid, midget, deaf and dumb, troubled person in official internal and external communications, judicial orders, notifications, circulars, newspapers, textbooks and Court orders.” It also seeks to amend suitably the laws using the words mentally retarded in the Multiplicity Disability Act, 1999, besides some other laws on the subject.

“On consideration of the matter, we are of the view that the issue raised needs to be addressed by the respondents, so as to value the universal conventions and the sentiments of these specially abled persons for giving them full support humanly and socially,” the bench said.

The court said that the petitioner has also highlighted the difficulties faced with the specially abled persons while approaching the different offices/courts in J&K and Ladakh.

“ He makes reference that it is very difficult to pursue the cases in the offices/Courts while having no facility of even constructed ramps, lifts, providing Wheelchairs along with Hand raised and special washroom facilities also.”

Seeking response to the plea within two weeks, the bench said:

“In the meantime, we direct all the respondents to ensure expeditious recognition of the claim of the petitioner for the specially abled persons”. “We also hope and trust that the society as a whole shall recognize their rights as guaranteed under the Constitution,” it added.

While the bench urged  that the specially able persons be treated properly by the language recognized internationally, it said: “We also direct the respondents to ensure that the facilities as identified hereinabove are provided/developed, if not, already existing”.

The court also ordered that it shall be ensured that the Police records statements of specially abled by approaching at their place of convenience or residence so as to avoid bringing them to the Police Station in the event any specially abled person becomes a victim of some commission of offence(s).

“We expect that the respondents shall ensure full respect and honour to all citizens in terms of their personality without letting them suffer any impression that the society and State sees and address the physically and mentally challenged persons as liabilities carrying personalities and, as such, sensitivity has to be in full operation.”

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