Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today issued notices to the Maharashtra government, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority over a PIL highlighting “inadequate” infrastructural facilities for the differently-abled persons at various places across the city.
A bench of Justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni directed the authorities to take instructions on all that they had done to implement provisions of the Rights of Persons with the Disabilities Act, 2016, and also the statutory provisions that encompass facilities for the differently-abled.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Abha Singh and a city resident Nisha Jamvwal. As per the plea, the petitioners visited 22 spots across Mumbai, including some multiplexes, a five-star hotel, and even the office premises of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
However, at most of these spots, they realised that mandatory provisions such as providing ramps for wheelchairs, doors to main entrances and toilets at such premises that were wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, etc had not been provided for.
Singh, who appeared for the petitioners, argued that it was mandatory under the 2016 Act that persons with disabilities are provided safe and free accessibility to roads, footpaths and public places. She also argued that the Maharashtra government’s own Development Control (DC) regulations mandated that unless public buildings as well as private establishments provided such safety and accessibility features for the disabled, they will not be granted an occupancy certificate, Singh thus, sought appropriate directions from the court to the state authorities.
State Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who was present in the court on behalf of the state government in a related matter, confirmed that the DC regulations did mandate that special amenities be provided in buildings that are to be used for public offices, or as commercial establishments.
The court has granted three weeks to the authorities to respond to the notices.