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Delhi High Court asks state govt to file a report on accessibility of foot overbridges, escalators

woman pushing a person in wheelchair during a rally in Calcutta, India.
Photo: Shutterstock

The Delhi High Court recently issued notice on a PIL filed over the accessibility of lifts and escalators attached to foot-over bridges in Delhi, said to be violating the rights of older people and persons with disabilities.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Public Works Department (PWD), and Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and asked them to respond to the petition while listing it for further hearing on September 6.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is filed seeking appropriate directions to the concerned respondents to ensure accessibility to lifts, foot over bridges, and other public facilities for persons with disabilities and older people of India, under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Petitioner Pankaj Mehta submitted that the state of public amenities such as elevators and escalators for persons with disabilities and older people of the country is in ruins and non-functional in the country’s capital, a ‘metropolitan’ and ‘developed’ city.

“Within the NCT of Delhi, various foot overbridges have been installed by the respondents who come with an elevator for ease of access for those with disabilities and the elderly. However, the respondents have forgotten the maintenance and upkeep for almost all these foot over bridges.

“As a result of such ignorance, the elevators in the foot over fridges are not operational across the year, and the respondents are taking absolutely no steps to rectify the same. That it is pertinent to mention that most of these foot overbridges have been constructed on jam-packed roads, and the non-functional state of the elevators and escalators have effectively rendered persons with disabilities and the elderly in a state of helplessness as they are unable to access even the roads which are prima facie violative of the fundamental rights of such citizens,” the plea said.

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