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If not disabled-friendly, don’t buy any more buses: Madras HC

The Madras High Court on Thursday restrained the State government from adding any new buses to its fleet used for public transport, unless the vehicle purchased was disabled-friendly.

Published: 23rd July 2021 05:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2021 05:35 AM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday restrained the State government from adding any new buses to its fleet used for public transport, unless the vehicle purchased was disabled-friendly. The court passed the interim orders on a batch of cases pending in the court for several years, seeking the procurement of disabled-friendly buses.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy passed the order on a batch of pleas challenging the decision of the State government that only 10 per cent of buses procured for the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) would be disabled-friendly low-floored buses and another 25 per cent would have a lift mechanism or any other system for wheelchairs.

The issue pertains to a plea moved by Vaishnavi Jayakumar, who sought to restrain the government from acquiring any further buses to be added to the fleet unless they conformed to the requirements of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017, particularly Rule 15 thereof.

During the hearing, the State submitted that there are certain practical difficulties, particularly in finding resources not only to acquire the more expensive buses but also to create the road infrastructure to host such sophisticated buses. It prayed for more time to indicate a roadmap.

The counsel for the MTC, during the hearing, submitted that those buses are expensive. “We are living in a poor country. Pandemic has made us poorer,” added the counsel. The Bench, recording the submissions, orally remarked, “How many of our legislators are poor?”

Refusing to accept the same, the court said, “In view of the mandate of the statute, and rules there may be no room to manoeuvre and little scope for the court to delay the implementation of the policy as reflected in the statute and the laws made thereunder.” 

The hearing was adjourned to August 19.



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