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Barrier-Free Environment

 

The PWD Act makes provisions to create a barrier free environment for all persons with disability and to encourage them to be fully participating members of the society. Broadly, the term ‘barrier free environment’ would mean removing obstacles and providing access to all.

Chapter VIII of the Act deals with the provisions relating to this principle. Some of the provisions in this Chapter include providing auditory signals on roads, taking special measures in the transport sector to make the rails, aircrafts and vessels easily accessible to wheel chair users, to provide ramps in public buildings, medical care and rehabilitation centres, Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators and lifts.

Although such rights have been elaborately laid down under the Act, all the provisions have not been implemented. One possible reason could be that these provisions are not considered mandatory in nature. Most of these provisions direct the government to implement them only if it is within the ‘economic capacity’ of the state.

In this area, few interesting cases have come up before the Courts. For example, students with disability are accorded certain privileges and concessions depending on the nature of their disability and when this is violated then the Courts have ordered their implementation. In one such case, it was held that for certain competitive examinations, a visually handicapped candidate can arrange for a scribe at their own cost. According to the rules, the academic qualification of the scribe should be one level below the minimum educational qualification required for the post applied for by the disabled person.

It is heartening to note that in all instances, the courts have made efforts to favor the person with disability in the actualization of the demand made, to the maximum extent possible.

Judgments related to "Barrier free Environment"

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