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
(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