Make parks, roads, public transport disabled friendly, Delhi High Court orders authorities

The Delhi High Court has directed the central government, the Delhi government and the municipality to sensitise public officials on issues affecting people with disabilities.

The bench ordered them to hold a meeting of architectural and engineering divisions to devise a training module to sensitise their officials.

“There is complete lack of sensitivity to issues concerning disability. This is on account of ignorance towards issues faced by the disabled” - Delhi High Court

The court said this while hearing a plea by Nipun Malhotra, a disability rights activist, seeking to make public buildings, transport and parks disabled-friendly.

Most public parks in Delhi lack proper access for the disabled and aged persons due to narrow entry points.

The court directed civic agencies to take up one or more areas in their jurisdiction as pilot projects to make them completely disabled-friendly. The Delhi government has claimed that 22 buildings of the Delhi Police were disabled-friendly, including the police headquarters.

The court then asked if the Delhi Police have lock-ups had disabled-friendly toilets as well.

“We cannot tolerate exclusion on any account…on the basis of caste or colour or creed or any other criteria” - Delhi High Court

The court said that juvenile homes, homes for the aged, and women's shelters also need to be made disabled-friendly.

The court said that even though it was over two years since the petition was filed, many government departments, including the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Delhi Development Authority and , South Delhi Municipal Corporation, have not conducted a disability audit of their buildings.

Under the Accessible India campaign, 50% of all public buildings in the Capital were to be made fully disabled-friendly by July 2018.

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