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India’s Disability rights activist moves SC to direct government to give sign language interpreters

Supreme Court of India New Delhi
Photo: Dreamstime

A disability rights activist and advocate has moved the Supreme Court to direct the Indian Government to provide sign language interpreters during briefings of Heads of States, Ministers, and officials.

Advocate M. Karpagam, a disabled lawyer, practicing at the Madras High Court, said persons with disabilities have equal information and communication rights. They should learn the news to analyse and make their own decisions based on the information.

The plea said the disabled should access the official press briefings of Ministers and Heads of States. It was their statutory right under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Access to sign language is the fundamental right of people with hearing disabilities. The Act unequivocally prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including failing to provide meaningful access to public benefits, programmes, or services.

The law puts the Government under an obligation to facilitate easy access to information and communication to them.

The petition pointed out how the disabled were left in the dark because sign language interpreters were not provided during important press briefings on the COVID-19 updates.

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