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Make public spaces disabled-friendly, Supreme Court instructs governments

Team SoOLEGAL 18 Dec 2017 5:27pm

Make public spaces disabled-friendly, Supreme Court instructs governments

The Supreme Court of India fixed a timeline for the Centre and states to make public places accessible to the differently abled, particularly the blind, and passed a slew of directions to bring them into the mainstream of society.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said government buildings and educational institutions must be made compatible with the needs of differently abled people, who number around 60-70 million in India.

Almost 50% of them suffer from visual disability.

"Earlier, traditional approaches to disability depicted it as a health and welfare issue, to be addressed through care provided to persons with disabilities from a charitable point of view. Disabled persons are viewed as abnormal, deserving of pity and care, and not as individuals who are entitled to enjoy the same opportunities to live a full and satisfying life as other members of society. This resulted in marginalising disabled persons and their exclusion both from the mainstream of society and enjoyment of their fundamental rights and freedoms," the apex court bench said.

The court said the perception of treating the disabled as ill and different from nondisabled peers needed to change as it resulted in their "severe isolation". "This raises the critical issue of creating a level playing field whereby all citizens have fair opportunities to realise their full potential. To ensure a level playing field, it is not only essential to give necessary education to the disabled, but it is also imperative to see that such education is imparted in a fruitful manner. That can be achieved only if there is proper accessibility to buildings where the educational institution is housed as well as to other facilities in the building, namely, class rooms, library, bathrooms etc. Without that, the disabled would not be able to avail of and utilise the educational opportunity in full measure," the bench added.

[Source: TOI]

 

Tagged: Supreme Court   Judge   Lawyer   Central Government   State Government   Educational Institutions   Visually Impaired  
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