Accessibility February 13, 2019
Kerala government introduces exclusive courts to handle cases for disabled people
It is a known fact that most of our public places and buildings are not accessible for people with disabilities, especially for those with loco motor disabilities. Disabled people have to literally undergo numerous struggles to even fight for a case at courts because of the lack of accessibility at our court buildings and its premises. Most of the times, they have to wait for many years to get justice. Now, the Kerala government is gearing up to do something in favour of disabled people. Additional session’s courts in Kerala are going to be run exclusively for handling cases of people with disabilities. The state government has assured that arrangements to start this will begin from the month of February.
This is indeed a novel and much appreciated move from the Kerala state government that has always stood up for empowering disabled people. According to the Rights of Persons with disabilities Act, 2016, state governments must have special provisions to handle cases of people with disabilities. That is precisely the reason why the government introduced this new facility. It will be introduced in all districts across the state
Saleem K is a wheelchair user and the co-ordinator of Santhwana project that empowers people with disabilities. This is their eighth successful year. Saleem says that this new move by the government will help people with disabilities.
It is high time that our courts are made disabled friendly because I have come across numerous cases where disabled people are even forced to withdraw their cases due to inaccessible court buildings. Most of them have to wait for many years to get justice. It is the right of every disabled person to have access to public spaces. We hope this new exclusive court will make things easier now-Saleem K
The government has also assured that the court building and premises will be disabled friendly. They will have exclusive accessible parking spaces where disabled people can park their cars at the entrance of the court. They will also have wheelchair ramps for people with loco motor disabilities. Since cases of people without disabilities are not going to be handled at the court, disabled people do not have to wait in long queues to get justice.
Disabled people, activists and NGO’s have been raising complaints about the difficulties that they face while fighting a case at Indian courts. Since there are no proper facilities for seating arrangements, they often get tired waiting for long hours. But not anymore. These new court premises will have special seating arrangements for people with all kinds of disabilities.
Decisions pertaining to working days of the court, the different cases and the number of cases that will be taken up will be decided by the Judge.
“This is indeed a great move. People with disabilities have many problems. Some of them are not even able to go outdoors due to lack of accessibility. Hopefully, having exclusive courts will make a difference and people will be able to easily address their grievance”, says Preetha Thonnakkal, a wheelchair user from Kerala.
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