Make roads, footpaths accessible to differently abled: HC

The roads and footpaths under the control of the Kochi Corporation, its nodal agencies and the Public Works Department shall be maintained and repaired and made accessible to differently abled persons within three months, ordered the Kerala High Court.

It was on a Public Interest Litigation filed by the Chairperson of Centre for Empowerment and Enrichment, an NGO, that the Division Bench of the court consisting of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly issued the order.

The court held that the corporation and the department were duty-bound to make necessary arrangements to enable differently abled persons access footpaths and roads to their convenience. The agencies shall secure necessary reports from the officers concerned and nodal agencies, and file a comprehensive report before March next, the court held.

The petitioner had contended that the agencies had failed miserably to protect the rights and interests of differently abled people due to the poor maintenance of footpaths within the limits of Kochi city. It had affected their fundamental right for free movement and to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business and right to livelihood, the petitioner submitted.

The court held that differently abled people, like any other citizens, were entitled to enjoy the fruits of life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. They were also entitled to enjoy other fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens under the Constitution to the extent possible for them, the court noted.

The State has a duty to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of people, which includes special and essential requirements of differently abled citizens. It was the inevitable function of the State and local bodies to look after the affairs of differently abled citizens also, the judgement pointed out.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 7:32:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/make-roads-footpaths-accessible-to-differently-abled-hc/article33134057.ece

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