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ACCESSIBILITY OF PUBLIC PLACES TO BE MADE IN TIME BOUND MANNER

The Supreme Court, in the case of Rajive Raturi vs. Union of India decided on 15.12.2017, passed in all 11 directions for making various public places accessible in a time bound manner. The directions in detail provide that the Central and State government make important public buildings accessible, conduct accessibility audit, provide accessibility in airports, railways and government owned public transport carriers and also make government websites accessible. The Court directed the Bureau of Indian Standards to insert disability aspect in all relevant parts of revised National Building Code. The need to train 200 sign language interpreters was recognised in this judgement. The court further directed all State governments and Union Territories to constitute central and State advisory boards. Strict timeline for implementing the directions is provided in the judgement.

In this case the petitioner Rajive Raturi, who was a visually disabled person residing in Gurugram, filed the Public interest Litigation (PIL) on behalf of disabled/ differently abled persons for proper and adequate access to public places. The court made a reference to the international covenants relating to persons with disabilities and also perused the provisions of the Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and full participation) (“PWD”) Act, 1995 and the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (“RPWD”) Act, 2016.

While delivering the present judgement, the court opined that Constitutional set up for every citizen applies with much more vigour in case of persons suffering from disability and therefore, it becomes imperative to provide such facilities so that these persons also are ensured level playing field and not only they are able to enjoy life meaningfully, but are also able to contribute to the progress of the nation as well.

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