Monday, March 30, 2015

Delhi HC directs Reserved Accessible Parking for Disabled across City of Delhi


Dear Colleagues,

The Delhi High Court on 11 Feb 2015, ordered civic agencies to reserve space for the disabled in every parking space across the city and punish errant contractors and attendants.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw  while hearing the PIL W.P.(C) No.1977/2014 titled Vinod Kumar Bansal Vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, said the agencies have till now only “paid lip service“ to several rules enacted to ensure access to the disabled and ordered them to “reserve parking spaces most suitable for persons with disability and in sufficient number after assessing the need.“

Indicating its seriousness, the HC directed the state government and its agencies to include a penalty clause in rules so that a parking attendant or contractor who doesn't reserve space for disabled is punished and the contract is cancelled immediately. However, the court left it to the discretion of the three corporations, DDA, NDMC and the government to explore the number of reserved spaces to be kept for the disabled.

On what moved the Hon'ble Court to rule in favour of the rights of disabled, it expressed, “Our own experience in Delhi shows that at several places though ramps have been provided to enable access to wheelchairs, they are there merely for namesake as the gradient is very steep. We want to draw the attention of all concerned agencies that they must standardize the gradient...We find the ramps to be inaccessible in certain places owing to the storm water drain on the sides of the roads which acts as a barrier between the road and the ramp leading to the pavement. All this comes in the way of optimum and intended use of our roads and pavements, with the same being congested, dusty , blocked, uneven and full of potholes, impeding movement."

Directions passed by the Court 

(a) all the concerned agencies to within six months hereof, in each of the parking spaces presently available, reserve parking space/s most suitable for persons with disability and in sufficient number after assessing the need and to on the board reserving the said parking space itself also give the name and phone number of the person with whom the complaint with respect to misuse of the said parking space is to be lodged; 

(b) feasibility of making a provision for action against the contractor / attendant of manned parking lots / places viz. of cancellation of contract etc. for allowing such reserved parking spaces to be used for parking by others be considered; 

(c) feasibility of providing for identification of vehicles of persons with disability be also explored so that it can be identified whether the vehicle parked in the said reserved parking space is of a person with disability or of some other person;

(d) the process of installation of auditory signals at all traffic lights be completed within six months; 

(e) all the concerned agencies to within the said time of six months ensure that all pavements are accessible to persons with disabilities, taking into consideration the observations made hereinabove; 

(f) dedicated phone lines/ e-mail address or other user ID for cross-platform mobile messaging applications for receiving complaints/images/videos of blocking the access to the pavements by encroaching thereon be provided and the telephone number for each district be widely advertised for enabling the citizens to make complaints with respect thereto and the name of the person responsible for dealing with the said complaint and the time within which the complaint is to be dealt with shall also be provided;

(g) each of the concerned agencies to within four weeks hereof file affidavits in the Court naming the person responsible for complying with the directions issued by us and such person shall be responsible for non-compliance of the directions."

Case not completely closed

Though the matter has been disposed off so far as reliefs claimed by the petitioner, but broadening the scope of the intervention, the Hon'ble High Court fixed the next date for hearing on 19 May 2015 with directions that the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and the Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT of Delhi should present their views in this respect before  the Hon'ble Court by filing affidavits, within a period of four weeks from today including as to the consultant / think tank / expert who / which can be entrusted with the said task.

Court expressed its dissatisfaction saying "It is sad that despite expending huge funds and the best intention of the officials and employees, the city is not able to achieve the world class status which it aspires...We are sure that a competent consultant assigned the said task would be able to devise a structure for better governance of the city".

Get a copy of Court Judgement in accessible format here

W.P.(C) No.1977/2014 Vinod Kumar Bansal Vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi


Media Coverage

(a) Here is a related Media coverage from Times of India in image format.



(b) To read the media coverage from source in accessible format click here: Times of India 

SC unhappy with Govt. steps for persons with mental disabilities

This update on a new PIL concerning the plight of persons with mental disabilities filed before Supreme Court from Telegraph

SC scans steps on mentally disabled

Our Legal Correspondent
New Delhi, March 26: The Supreme Court today directed the central government and all states and Union territories to explain the measures they have taken for the welfare of mentally challenged people across the country.

The court said it appeared that not much had been done so far, although the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, mandates governments to take adequate steps for their welfare.

"We are disposed to think that all the state governments have a definite role to see that the act is properly implemented and the persons under disability, which includes... mentally challenged persons, are taken care of as commanded by the act," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant said.

The court passed the order while dealing with a public interest petition that had complained about the pathetic living conditions in Asha Kiran, a government-run care home in Delhi for mentally challenged people.

The bench said it was "absolutely conscious" that this case had "arisen from an order" passed by Delhi High Court relating to the home. Yet, the "pathetic situation of this category of persons which have been highlighted before us in other states cannot be ignored", it said.

"On the contrary," the bench added, "we are obliged to think, occasion has arisen so that there can be a comprehensive study of the situation where this class of people are treated with dignity, respect and, as far as practicable, feel a part of the main stream of life."

The bench said it was "not oblivious of the fact" that in every case, it may not be possible "but there has to be an attempt to identify the possibility".

"We have been apprised at the Bar that the said effort has not been made and, if made, that is not adequate enough to meet the real challenge."

The bench noted that under Section 25 of the act, the government concerned and local authorities are duty-bound to take certain steps to prevent occurrence of disabilities and prepare a comprehensive education scheme providing for transport facilities and supply of books, besides financial incentives for parents or guardians.

"In view of the aforesaid, we direct the impleadment of the Union of India (and) all the states and Union territories. This court hopes and trusts that the Union of India and all the states and Union territories shall respond without taking recourse to any kind of subterfuge and none should take (an) adversarial position for the present cause has its own sacrosanctity," Justice Misra said in his order while fixing July 8 for the next hearing.

Source: The Telegraph

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Delhi HC directs UPSC to distribute vacancies equally [Judgement included)

Dear Colleages,

Please refer to my earlier post titled "Two High Courts direct Extra time, reasonable accommodation & reservation in CSE 2014" whererin writ petition was filed before the Delhi High Court as well as Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of UPSC's Notification Civil Services Examination 2014 on the grounds that it was against the rights of persons with visual impairments granted by the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995. 

While my earlier post contained the judgement of the case filed in Mumbai High Court and an interim order in the case filed in Delhi High Court, this post contains the final order passed in the case before the Delhi High Court bearing  WP (C) No. 3919 of 2014 titled Sambhavana Vs. Union of India and others dated 04 March 2015.

Directions by the Court 

(a) the respondent no.2 UPSC shall find out from the respective Cadre Controlling Authorities the reason for allocating the vacancies in excess of 3% unequally between the three categories aforesaid.

(b) if the Cadre Controlling Authorities are unable to give any valid reason, the vacancies in excess of 3% shall also be equally distributed between the persons with disability of all three categories and the appointments in pursuance to the Employment Notice impugned in the petition shall be made accordingly.

(c) Relief claimed seeking issuance of a direction to the respondents to comply with the Office Order dated 26th February, 2013 supra is concerned, we had in our order dated 19 th August, 2014 held that the guidelines contained therein were issued as per the directions of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities who is an Authority appointed under Section 57(1) of the Act and cannot be treated as mere executive instructions and the said guidelines having been issued for effective implementation of the provisions of the Disabilities Act, have statutory force and are bound to be implemented by all Departments and Authorities. No arguments whatsoever were addressed on the said aspect by the learned counsel for the respondents during the hearing of the writ petition and therefore, we hold with respect to the said prayer that the respondent no.2 - UPSC shall abide by the said guidelines for all times to come unless the same are varied in accordance with law.




Monday, March 2, 2015

SC dismisses yet another attempt of Centre to sabotage reservation for employees with disabilities in promotion

Dear Colleagues,


Despite a three judge bench of the then Chief Justice, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman of the Hon'ble Supreme Court rejecting the Centre's argument against the reservation in promotion for persons with disabilities on 12th Sep 2014 in Special Leave to Appeal (C) CC No(s). 13344/2014  in terms of The Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, the Union of India (read DoPT) has been dilly-dallying on the implementation of the Bombay High Court judgement in PIL 106/2010 dated 04 Dec 2013 titled National Confederation for Development of Disabled Versus Union of India and Ors by preferring some or the other objections since September 2014.

However, finally on 27 Feb 2015, a bench of Hon'ble Chief Justice HL Dattu and Mr. Justice AK Sikri of Hon'ble Supreme Court, have once again dismissed a Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No 5914/2015 (Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 05/12/2014 in NOML No. 690/2014 in  RPL No. 85/2014 in PIL No. 106/2010 passed by the High Court Of Bombay). 

"How do you expect disabled persons to compete with the abled persons," the bench asked while dismissing the appeal filed by the Centre against the Bombay High Court order directing it and the Union Public Service Commission to implement a three per cent quota in direct recruitments and promotions for the disabled in the IAS.

Like last time, The Hon'ble Bench did not give specific reasons. For a copy of Supreme Court Order dated 27 Feb 2015 click here.

However, a large section of media was present in the Supreme Court and has reported the proceedings succinctly


A report in Times of India covers the entire proceedings as below:

Source: Times of India 

‘Disabled should get reservation in promotion’
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 28, 2015, 03.33AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said the government could not deny quota in promotion to those who were appointed to a post under the reservation policy for the physically handicapped. 

A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and A K Sikri rejected the Union government's plea to set aside a high court decision ordering that those appointed in government service through physically handicapped quota would also be entitled to reservation while getting promoted. 

Arguing for the Centre, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said there were four categories of civil services and if a person had availed the reservation benefit in getting a job, it would be unfair to extend the reservation benefit yet again to him while considering him for promotion to the higher category of service. 

The bench was not convinced. It said, "Why confine the reservation benefit only to the entry level and not for promotion. If a person is disabled, he is always disabled. So, as long as the disability continues, he should continue to get reservation benefits. We feel that these disabled persons should have reservation not only at the entry level but also at the time of promotion." 

The law provides for 3% reservation to physically challenged persons in government service. After a long adjudication process on a public interest litigation, the apex court had directed governments to implement the quota for disabled and fill the vacancies including backlog. 

On October 8, 2013, the SC in a landmark order had directed the Centre and states to implement within three months an 18-year-old law mandating 3% reservation for such persons in government jobs. 

The 1995 Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act came into force on February 7, 1996 providing a minimum 3% reservation in government establishments to the extent of 1% each for persons suffering from blindness or low vision; hearing impairment; and locomotor disability or cerebral palsy. 

The reservations will be implemented by all government departments, public sector undertakings and government companies at the Centre and states, enlarging opportunities for persons with disabilities eligible for benefits under the law. 

Rejecting the AG's arguments, the bench of Justices Dattu and Sikri said, "Don't give a restrictive meaning to reservation by confining it to the appointment level. Disabled persons should be empowered to compete with normal people in promotion." 

When the AG argued further against grant of reservation benefits in promotion to disabled persons, the bench cut it short by telling him that persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes got the benefit of reservation both in appointment and promotion.