Tamil Nadu Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram has informed the Madras High Court of having instructed the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to modify all bollards that have been erected on pavements across the city that do not allow for accessibility to those using wheelchairs.
Chief Justice S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu recorded the submission made by the A-G and closed a public interest litigation petition with the hope that the authorities would adhere to the instructions given by the law officer, and avoid inconveniencing persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
The PIL petition had been filed by Bhavana Botta, a disability rights activist from Chennai, complaining about the bollards erected on several roads and pavements in Chennai. She contended that the bollards, primarily aimed at preventing the use of motor vehicles on the pavements, had been constructed in violation of the guidelines issued by the Centre.
When the case was last heard, the Chief Justice’s Bench had requested the A-G to bestow personal attention to the matter. Accordingly, the top law officer of the court told the Bench on Tuesday that the GCC Executive Engineer (Bus Routes and Roads) would rectify all bollards that hinder free movement of wheelchairs.
The A-G said, the PIL petitioner’s counsel A. Yogeshwaran, could directly get in touch with the Executive Engineer and list out the places where the placement of the bollards had to be rectified. He, however, said the bollards installed within railway premises would have to be rectified only by the railway authorities.
Satisfied with the prompt action taken by the A-G at their request, the judges closed the PIL petition. During the course of the hearing, Justice Audikesavalu told the A-G that he had seen many people ride their two-wheelers on pavements with scant respect for the pedestrians and the A-G replied that the bollards were primarily aimed at preventing the use of motor vehicles on pavements.