November 1, 2017 8:54:21 pm
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi government to ensure that every mode of public transport in the city was disabled-friendly. While hearing a PIL challenging its proposed purchase of 2,000 standard floor buses for the national capital, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also suggested whether the government could put the procurement process of these buses on hold.
It issued notice to the city government seeking the status of the procurement of these buses which, according to the petition, were not disabled-friendly. The court directed the government to file its status report before the next date of hearing on November 14.
“Delhi should be the path-breaker. Ensure every mode of public transport is disabled friendly. You buy 30,000 buses if you want to, but let them be disabled-friendly. You need to be more progressive,” the bench said, adding “why not put on hold the acquisition process”. The Delhi government, represented by advocate Sanjoy Ghosh, urged the bench not to pass such an order as the need for more buses was felt in the wake of metro fare hike affecting thousands of commuters.
The court was hearing a PIL moved by a person suffering from locomotor disability challenging the Delhi government’s move to procure 2,000 standard floor buses at a cost of Rs 300 crore. The petitioner, Nipun Malhotra, has contended that the standard floor buses have higher steps and are not equipped for wheelchair access and thus, would “directly and substantially affect” about 2.34 lakh disabled persons in the national capital.
The plea has contended that the government has displayed “insensitivity” towards disabled persons as they were not consulted prior to taking a decision to procure the buses. It sought a stay on the procurement of the standard floor buses and directions to the Delhi government to carry out a feasibility study by involving persons from disabled community.
It has also sought directions to the Delhi government to provide the rationale behind procurement of the “non-disabled friendly buses”.
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