Madras HC: No Public Transport Buses without Disabled Amenable Amenities

Shivani Pandey-

Madras High Court has restricted the State government from purchasing any new buses for public transport, lest they are disabled-friendly as per the statutory necessities under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (2016 Act) and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017 (2017 Rules).

A Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthikumar Ramamoorthy furnished the pro tem injunction on a batch of writ petitions seeking the universal use of disabled-friendly buses to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Court observed that Rule 15 of the 2017 Rules instructs that every institution must endeavour to increase accessibility for disabled persons by ensuring the abidance to the specific standard as indicated in a notification issued by the Government of India bearing GSR 895(E) dated September 20, 2016.

Although, notwithstanding the specified timeline, the Court noticed that no progress had been made by the State government to ensure compliance. 

“In October 2020, this Court was constrained to observe that though some of the writ petitions about better facilities for persons with disabilities had been pending from the year 2007 or even 2005, nothing fruitful or worthwhile has been done to address the genuine grievances or day-to-day problems faced by the persons who are otherwise abled”, the Court stated.

The State through counsel submitted that there existed certain difficulties in looking for resources not only to acquire the expensive buses but also to create the required road infrastructure to be able to provide for such sophisticated buses.

Denying the submission, the Court noted that given the 2016 Act and the statutory rules framed under, the implementation of such disabled-friendly requirements must not be held up.

On similar lines, the Court granted time to the State to prepare a road map for the policy implementation. 

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