SC warns states of contempt action on Disabilities Act

The Supreme Court on Thursday warned of contempt proceedings against states which fail to provide sufficient special access facilities for physically challenged persons as mandated under the Persons with Disabilities Act.

Last Updated: Jan 06, 2011, 19:21 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday warned of
contempt proceedings against states which fail to provide
sufficient special access facilities for physically challenged
persons as mandated under the Persons with Disabilities Act.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia,
justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar also sought an
explanation from the Centre within four weeks as to whether
Central Committee and State level committees have been set up
for implementing the Act and details vis-a-vis disbursal of
funds, if any.
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities,
Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act was enacted
in 1995.

The apex court gave the warning after senior counsel
Colin Gonzalves for petitioner Rajiv Raturi in a PIL
complained that though several guidelines have been framed
under the Act for the benefit of physically challenged
persons, neither the Centre nor the states showed interest in
implementing the same.

He pointed out that the National Building Code and the
Public Works Department have framed several guidelines for
creating special facilities for disabled persons at public
places like railway stations, bus terminus, airports, trains,
buses and aircraft but till date no such facility has been
created.

"We make it clear that if the states do not enforce
the National Building Code of India as well as the guidelines
issued by the Central Public Works Department, we would be
taking contempt proceedings, for which the petitioner(s)
could move before this court," the bench said in an order.

The apex court said it was passing the order "strictly
based" on the provisions of the Act.
It said "on going through the provisions of the
Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of
Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, prima facie, we are
satisfied that several important statutory duties have
remained non-compliant till date.

"We are not even sure as to whether the Central
Co-ordination Committee has been duly constituted under
Section 3 by the central government as provided in the 1995
Act," the bench said.

The apex court also sought information from the Centre
on the following three issues:

1. Whether the Central Coordination Committee has been
constituted under Section 3 of the 1995 Act. If not, by what
time it would be constituted.

2. If Central Co-ordination Committee has been
constituted, whether such Committee has given
directions/guidelines to the State Coordination Committees
under the 1995 Act.

3. Whether any funds have been disbursed to the State
Co-ordination Committees. If so, whether utilisation
certificates have been issued by the state government
from time to time.

Directing the Centre to file an affidavit on the
question, the bench posted the matter for further hearing
after four weeks.

PTI