Get-hooked December 2, 2020
Activists demand special courts to try offences against disabled people on urgent basis
As number of offences against people with disabilities rise, Madurai bench of Madras High court directed center and state governments to set up special courts to try offences against disabled people. Disability rights activists say that such courts were already there, but were not functional.
After a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was heard, Madurai bench of the Madras High Court ordered notice to the Centre and the state regarding direction to set up special courts to try offences against people with disabilities in every district of Tamil Nadu. The litigant R Mani Bharati from Madurai pointed out why there is a need for setting up such special courts for speedy trial for people with disabilities. The Rights of Persons With Disabilities act, 2016 (RPWD) also stresses on importance of punishment and imprisonment to those who violates the act.
Need for speedy action
Number of crimes and atrocities against people with disabilities are rising at a rapid rate not just in Tamil Nadu, but across India. That is why there is an urgent need to set up such courts that can give justice without hassles. Currently the procedure is that a person with disability has to spend months, visit inaccessible court spaces and undergo numerous hurdles to file a case and get its verdict. A special court will make things easier.
Mani Bharati told to court of justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi that special public prosecutors must be appointed in these courts. The justices responded that the court must have all facilities including accessible infrastructure for effective participation of disabled people so that they can get speedy justice.
The petitioner also stated that these courts should have been set up within six months after the act came to place. But even after four years since RPWD Act, 2016, no special courts has been set up in the state.
Disability rights activists speak
TMN Deepak, founder, 3 December Movement says that this has been a long standing plea in the disability sector.
“Setting up special courts is part of the law. But even law makers are not aware about it. We have filed cases from 3 December Movement as well and we are awaiting to hear what the court has to say. Even exclusive courts meant for women are not functional in our state. Only specific districts have them and it is a reality. We are welcoming this order from the Madurai bench. I feel the Chief Justice of India must look into this issue so that there is better weightage”, he says.
S Namburajan is the General Secretary of Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC). He says that the rule to form special courts was already there, just that it was never implemented.
“The order to set up special courts has been there since the year 2019, but it was never implemented for hearing cases of people with disabilities. These courts were never operational”, he says talking about one of the prime problems faced by people with disabilities. “According to the RPWD Act, 2016, there are many offences against disabled people that needs to go for trial. But when you go to a police station they don’t accept it. Cops have an intranet to be imposed for offences. Provisions of the act cannot be included in that intranet”.
Though they have already filed a complaint with the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), nothing positive has come out. “We filed the complaint last month and they said they would revert in two weeks, but we still haven’t got any response”, he says.
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