Check if schools, colleges provide barrier-free access to disabled students: HC to Maharashtra government

A bench of Justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni said the state must inform the court whether or not all educational institutes across Maharashtra were providing barrier-free access to disabled.

Published: 29th July 2018 01:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2018 01:16 PM   |  A+A-

Bombay High Court (File | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government and the Directorate of Education to call for compliance reports from all educational institutes and universities in the state on facilities provided to disabled students.

In an order passed earlier this week, a bench of Justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni said the state must inform the court whether or not all educational institutes across Maharashtra were providing barrier-free access in their buildings to disabled students and staff members.

The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Pune resident Akanksha Kale.

In her plea filed through advocate Satyavrat Joshi, Kale sought that all educational institutes provide barrier-free access and other facilities to disabled students and staff, as mandated in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act.

Kale, who is confined to a wheelchair, had first approached the high court in 2016 against a Pune college after she was unable to attend classes and appear for her exams as the institute did not have disabled-friendly infrastructure.

At that time, another bench of the high court had passed necessary directions to the college concerned and also directed the state to ensure that all schools and colleges extend appropriate facilities to the disabled.

However, Kale approached the high court again earlier this year, saying that despite provisions of the act and the high court order, not all educational institutes had complied with the requirements.

The Mumbai University's counsel, advocate Rui Rodrigues, informed the court that there already existed statutory rules mandating that professional colleges, such as medical and engineering institutes, provide barrier-free environment in their buildings.

The professional institutes that did not comply were denied completion and occupation certificates for their buildings, Rodrigues said.

The high court, however, observed that such a requirement must be made mandatory for all educational institutes and not just those providing professional courses.

"The state and the Directorate of Education shall issue instructions to all universities to call for a compliance report from all the educational institutions," the bench said.

"In case any institute already has the occupation certificate but does not provide the mandatory facilities, then the authorities should take necessary steps for creating basic facilities such as ramps, washrooms and barrier-free access for handicapped people in such buildings," it said.

The high court has sought a report from the state on the compliance reports from educational institutes by August 2.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp