Infrastructure Gaps for People with Disabilities Across Court Premises  |

Infrastructure Gaps for People with Disabilities Across Court Premises 


∙ As per the report of the Centre for Research and Planning of the Supreme Court there are severe gaps in accessibility for people with disabilities at courts across India.


∙ The first-of-its-kind report, sheds light on the inadequacies in the infrastructure of District Courts across India, raising serious concerns about the impediments faced by people with disabilities in accessing justice.

Major Findings of the Report

∙ More than half of the District Court complexes do not have ramps, only 25.2% have availability of wheelchairs.

∙ Only 30.4% of District Court complexes have separate disabled-friendly toilets.

∙ Only 5.1% of District Courts have tactile paving to assist persons with visual impairments in navigating the court building.

∙ Sign language interpreters are available in only 2.8% districts in India.

∙ Out of a sanctioned strength of 25,081 judges in District Judiciary, there are 20,831 courtrooms highlighting an infrastructure gap of 4,250 courtrooms.

∙ When courts function in private rented buildings, they not only face the challenge of non-availability of necessary amenities but also of a secure work environment.

∙ The data signifies a “critical shortcoming” in the judicial infrastructure with respect to accessibility, necessitating concerted attention and action.

Measures Taken by Government of India for the People with Disabilities

∙ National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006: It supports Physical Rehabilitation, which includes early detection and intervention, counselling and medical interventions and provision of aids and appliances.

∙ India is a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD): It came into force in 2008. Three important obligations arise out of the Convention, namely

∙ Implementation of provisions of the UNCRPD, Harmonization of Indian Laws with the UNCRPD, and Preparation of a Country Report by 2010.

∙ Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan): Launched in 2015, this initiative aims to make public spaces and transportation accessible for people with disabilities. It includes provisions for accessible buildings, transport, and websites.

∙ Reservation in Education and Employment: The government provides reservation in educational institutions and government jobs for people with disabilities.

∙ This ensures that a certain percentage of seats and jobs are reserved for individuals with disabilities.

∙ The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016: This legislation replaced the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

∙ The new act expanded the categories of disabilities, increased the reservation in government jobs, and included measures to enhance accessibility.

∙ Economic Empowerment: National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation is an apex institution for channelizing the funds to persons with disabilities through the State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the State Government(s) or through Non Government Organizations.

Way Ahead∙ There is a need for regular inspection by the concerned agencies like the Public Works Department in coordination with the District Judges to explore modifications that can be made in existing court buildings to make the judicial infrastructure disabled-friendly.
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