Delhi Authorities Do Not Know What Disability Access Audit Is: HC
The authorities there did not know the meaning of disabled access audit, which was needed to ensure that all government offices, public buildings and public transport were disabled friendly, the Delhi High Court (HC) said on January 10. The HC directed all government agencies to give a list of the buildings in the national capital which were disabled friendly and also of those for which disabled access audit had been undertaken. They were also asked to indicate the measures taken after the audit was carried out.
A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the authorities had filed status reports "without understanding" the meaning of the “disabled access audit”, and the requirements for making buildings accessible to differently-abled persons. It directed the authorities to ensure that disabled access audit was done for all buildings under their control.
The observations came after the court perused the East Delhi Municipal Corporation's status report, claiming its buildings were disabled friendly as they all had ramps.
"Only ramps? Have you got disability audit done? What will a visually impaired person do with ramps," it asked.
The court also referred to the status report of the Central government, saying the audit has been done in its buildings but no measures were undertaken therafter.
The Bench listed the matter for February 13, and asked the authorities to explain the measures undertaken for physically disabled as well as visually and auditory impaired people. It asked the Delhi Police to give status on the audit of its buildings, including all the police stations here.
The directions came during the hearing of a PIL filed by 29-year-old Nipun Malhotra seeking directions to make the capital's roads, government offices and public transport friendly for the disabled people. The plea has alleged that "most public facilities", right from public transportation, sidewalks, roads, footpaths to government buildings, were "woefully equipped" to meet the needs of the disabled.
He has sought a "disability audit" of public transport facilities as well as government buildings in the city.
The government is expected to ensure non-discrimination in public transport, rail compartments, buses, vessels, aircraft and waiting rooms in such a way so as to make them comfortably accessible to the physically challenged persons, the petition has said.
The court had earlier asked the authorities to take care of the comfort of differently abled persons at their buildings, public transport and metro services in the national capital. It had sought reports from the Centre, the Delhi government, civic bodies, colleges, schools, the Delhi Metro and the other authorities on the disabled access audit of public buildings in the city.
While referring to its earlier order, the Bench had said it had already directed civic agencies to reserve space for the disabled in parking areas across the city and punish errant contractors and attendants.
With inputs from Housing News