Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Madras HC issues directions to Commissioner on disabled friendly Govt buildings


Disabled-friendly govt buildings: HC directs Commissioner

Business Standard | January 19, 2016

The Madras High Court today directed the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities to hold a meeting within 10 days and present a final picture before the court by March 11 on making government buildings disabled- friendly. 

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, gave the direction on two PILs seeking to direct authorities, particularly the Chairman and Managing Director of Metropolitan Transport Corporation and the Commissioner of Chennai Corporation to implement "the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995". 

The petitioners Rajiv Rajan and M Gnana Sambndam also sought a direction to provide barrier-free environment in public places giving access to the usage of transport system. 

They also wanted the authorities to frame and notify comprehensive rules for according recognition to various types of schemes for disabled.  Already, the court had appointed T Mohan, an advocate, as amicus curiae and directed him to file a report on the matter. 

When the matter came up today, the union government placed on record a note containing the additional facilities included in a Handbook on Barrier-Free and Accessibility, 2014, which mentions the requirements for making public places disabled-friendly. 

The bench, going through the note in its order, said "let a meeting be held by the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in consultation with the state Public Works Department and the amicus curiae within ten days so that we have a clear plan of action as to how will it be verified as to what extent the different buildings can be made disabled-friendly." 

The bench further said that such meetings should continue with frequency and to ensure that the final picture is placed before it by March 11. The court also directed the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities to remain present in the Court on March 11, 2016.



Thursday, January 7, 2016

Kerala High Court insists the 3% reservation computation from 1996 [Judgement Included]

Dear Friends,

A good clarification comes from the Kerala High Court. A double bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman while hearing on 06 Jan 2016, wednesday, has dismissed a Writ Appeal No. 362 of 2015 titled Kerala Public Service Commission Vs. E. Dineshan, filed by the Kerala Public Service Commission seeking to quash the Single Judge order in WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011.

The Single Judge Justice A.V.Ramakrishna Pillai had  ordered that the reservation has to be computed from the date of enactment of legislation i.e. 1996 and not from the date of a Govt. order. The single judge had quashed the govt. notification to the extent it restricted the benefit of 3% reservation of handicapped persons mandated under Section 33 of the Act from 1.2.2010 onwards.

To read the Single Judge order in WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011 click here:

 WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011 (PDF file)
 WP(C).No. 27234 of 2011 (Word File)

Here is a related new from Express news

Kerala HC Upholds Order on Jobs for Physically-Challenged
By Express News Service Published: 07th January 2016 06:00 AM

KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday upheld the order of the Single Bench declaring that handicapped persons are entitled to get three percent of vacancies in the post of assistant grade II/clerk/junior clerk/cashier from 1996 while making appointment to public sector undertakings.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman issued the order while dismissing an appeal filed by the Kerala Public Service Commission seeking to quash the Single Judge order. The Single Judge had also directed the Kerala State Electricity Board, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, Kerala State Financial Enterprises and Kerala Headload Workers Welfare Fund Board to report all existing vacancies to enable the PSC to advise candidates from the shortlist. The commission contended that the vacancies which had arisen during the validity of the rank list could only be filled. And the backlog vacancies could be filled only through a special recruitment drive.

The single judge had also quashed the state government order clarifying that the reservation of three per cent for disabled persons could be implemented only from February 1, 2010. The petitioner submitted that three per cent vacancies had to be reserved for the handicapped persons in terms of Sections 32 and 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

The Bench said that the single judge verdict was in accordance with the principles laid down by the Supreme Court judgement in implementing reservation available to physically handicapped persons.



Friday, January 1, 2016

Lets proactively ensure that all Indian Government websites conform to WCAG 2.0

Dear Colleagues,

The NIC guidelines known as the "Guidelines for Indian Government Websites (GIGW)" mandate that all Government websites shall conform to the international accessibility standards, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. 

Persons with disabilities use different assistive technologies to browse the web. However, if the websites or documents are not constructed as per the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the assistive technology fails to read them thus barring a person with disability from accessing the website thus rendering the website inaccessible.

India signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007 and ratified it a few months later. The Member States are, obliged to proactively promote digital inclusion of persons with disabilities. 

Govt. of India has launched Open Government Platform - OGPL To Promote Transparency And Citizen Engagement (www.ogpl.gov.in). OGPL is a joint product from India and United States to promote transparency and greater citizen engagement by making more government data, documents, tools and processes publicly available. This will be available, as an open source platform. By making this available in useful machine-readable formats it allows developers, analysts, media & academia to develop new applications and insights that will help give citizens more information for better decisions. OGPL has become an example of a new era of diplomatic collaborations that benefit the global community that promote government transparency, citizen-focused applications, and enrich humanity.

However, if the WCAG is not implemented, it will render the OGPL movement also futile. It is for each of us to take up the matters of inaccessibility of websites of govt. departments with the state commissioners for persons with disabilities. Visit section on How to write a petition

Here are some useful documents: