Money allotted to physically challenged persons’ welfare is meagre, says HC

Telangana High Court in Hyderabad

Telangana High Court in Hyderabad   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

How can ₹1 crore address needs of 7,81,327 persons with special needs, asks HC

Can a District Welfare Officer take care of all physically challenged persons in the district during the lockdown with ₹10,000 allocated by the government?

A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy raised this question on Friday while the hearing of a PIL petition on the plight of physically challenged persons during lockdown. The bench sought to know from Advocate General B.S. Prasad what was the rationale behind allocation of such sum.

For 40,000 advocates in the State, the government created a corpus fund of ₹25 crore while ₹1crore was sanctioned to look after the needs of 7,81,327 physically challenged persons, the bench observed. An amount of ₹1 crore was a pittance and that would compel this disadvantaged section of society to depend upon the mercy of donors, the bench said.

The bench was hearing a PIL petition filed by Karnati Ganesh seeking a direction to government to come to the rescue of the persons with special needs and issue passes to caretakers attending on them. “We end up paying ₹4,000 for monthly groceries in a shop while government allocated ₹10,000 each to District Welfare Officer responsible for taking care of physically challenged persons,” the bench said.

This would compel the people from disadvantaged section to depend upon generosity of other people, the bench said noting that “this is a sorry state of affairs”. The rights and interests of such people with special needs cannot be compromised by the government during lockdown situation.

Over 20,000 physically challenged persons live in Warangal while the District Welfare Officer concerned was given ₹ 10,000 for their welfare. “How does the government think the officer would provide essential commodities to physically challenged persons during lockdown,” the bench asked Advocate General B.S. Prasad.

The persons with special needs have the right to life guaranteed under the Constitution and the government had to protect them. “Ask the government to release more money immediately for the benefit of such people,” the bench said. The HC also asked the government to trace the letter addressed by the Director of Department of Disabled Welfare Senior Citizens to the Chief Secretary requesting for creation of a special fund.

The AG told the bench that ₹1 crore was allotted specially for the welfare of physically challenged persons during the lockdown. Apart from this, all white ration card holders were being given ₹1,500 and 12 kilos of rice. In case of any trouble, physically challenged persons can approach the local officers for help, the AG said.

The matter was posted after a week for next hearing.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:45:59 PM |

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