Justice for Ayaan Zaffar, Kashmiri child disabled in a school bus incident
Finally some good news for the Ayaan Zaffar and his family. Ayaan, a 11-year-old visually impaired child in Srinagar was physically disabled in an accident inside his school premises a year ago. The Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities held an online hearing in the matter after his parents filed a case under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.
Justice for Ayaan Zaffar over a year after the 11-year-old visually impaired child was physically disabled in a bus accident inside his school in Srinagar.
Today the Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities passed a judgement in the case. Ayaan’s parents Dr Zaffar ul Rehman and Sayeeda Rehman had filed a petition alleging negligence on the part of authorities at Delhi Public School (DPS) Srinagar. They said his class teacher had sent Ayaan all by himself to collect a book even though he was visually impaired. He was was hit by a bus inside school premises and left with a permanent physical disability.
Details of judgement
The judgement says that the medical expenses borne by Ayaan’s parents in his treatment and follow up surgeries must be reimbursed by DPS. The school has also been asked to provide full scholarship to the child and to ensure that Ayaan is able to resume his studies with full rights and dignity. The order states that Ayaan and his parents must not be harassed in any way by the school.
In court the school tried to argue that Ayaan was not 100% visually impaired and that the accident was not foreseeable. It also claimed that Ayaan was on a scholarship programme. Ayaan’s parents furnished his disability certificate to counter the claim as well as fee receipts to show that he was not getting a scholarship.
The school has full responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all students and doubly so for those having physical disability in the premises of the school…The school cannot give any excuses to evade such responsibility and is accountable for any accident caused..The school bus driver was an employee of the school and it was the obligation of the school to ensure there was no student in the way of bus let alone a 100% visually handicapped student. – Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities
Welcoming the CCPD order, Zaheer Jan of the NGO Disability Welfare Trust, said this was a wake up call. “Never Be Afraid to Raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion. Ayaan had a catastrophic injury and was bedridden with 80% physical disability. It was disheartening that the school showed such a callous attitude towards the child as well as the parents”.
Ayaan has not been able to move independently after the accident. After their appeals to the school and local police went unheard, Ayaan’s parents with the support of DWT approached the CCPD for justice naming DPS and the Jammu and Kashmir Police as respondents. Ayaan was issued a disability certificate confirming he had a locomotor disability after much struggle.
Since the accident, Ayaan has been bedridden. One of his lower limbs is not functional and he needs the support of a wheelchair or a walker. He is completely dependent on his family for all basic activities.
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