Differently-Abled to Have Better Access to Public Places, Thanks to Supreme Court

The move aims to create a level playing field.

In India, the perception of treating differently-abled people as ill, and marking them out, tends to isolate them. These are the words of the Supreme Court, according to the Times of India. The court wants to create a level playing field for all citizens to realise their full potential.

This much-welcome move and change in mindset should come as a relief for the approximately 60-70 million differently-abled people in India.

A pool with a ramp for the differently-abled. Image Courtesy: Flickr.
A pool with a ramp for the differently-abled. Image Courtesy: Flickr.

A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said government buildings and educational institutes must be compatible with the needs of the differently abled.

The Supreme Court, on Friday, fixed a timeline for the Centre and states to make public places more accessible to the differently-abled, passing directions to integrate them into mainstream society.

The Times of India reports that according to the Apex Court Bench, traditional approaches to disability, terming it a health and welfare issue, which must be addressed through care provided to the disabled from a charitable perspective, need to change.

Differently-abled people are viewed as abnormal, deserving of pity and care, not as individuals who live a full life, like the rest of society. This marginalising and exclusion stops them from enjoying fundamental rights.

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The court wants to ensure education is accessible to the differently-abled. School buildings, classrooms, libraries, bathrooms, etc., need to be provided/modified so that the differently-abled to utilise educational opportunities to the fullest.

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