New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, Delhi police and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to make pavements in DU’s north Campus disabled-friendly within four weeks.
The high court issued the direction, after noting that pavements on the Campus were “clearly inaccessible” to people with disabilities, especially those who were visually impaired, because of obstacles such as traffic lights, police posts, trees and shops in the middle of footpaths.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar made this observation, after examining photographs and a report filed by Nipman Foundation, a non-profit organisation, which works on health and education facilities for people with disabilities and underprivileged.
The organisation had inspected 40 sites on the Campus on the court’s orders to ascertain whether pavements were accessible to the disabled, especially the visually impaired.
After going through the photographs and the report, the court noted that a majority of the obstructions were “bang in the middle” of the tactile paths meant for the visually impaired, which could lead to injuries, and at some places hand rails were installed “randomly and aimlessly”.
The court said the obstructions showed the “disinterested attitude” of the authorities, who weren’t bothered about matters such as tactile markings because they benefited only a small section of the population.
In its order, the bench directed the public works department (PWD), the NDMC and the police to interact with the chief architect (roads) of New Delhi Municipal Council and come out with a plan to ensure the streets and pavements of the north Campus were made disabled-friendly.
It asked the Nipman Foundation to re-inspect the sites after four weeks.On payment to the foundation for its work, the NDMC cited reservations in disbursing Rs 10,000 to each person of the eight- member inspection team.
This led the court to remark that the corporation was “cribbing over Rs 80,000”. The bench then directed the PWD, corporation and DU to pay Rs 30,000 each to the foundation for its services, saying it was their responsibility to ensure the streets and pavements of the Campus were made disabled-friendly.
The high court’s directions and observations came while hearing a PIL alleging that the tactile markings on pavements on the Campus, especially outside colleges such as Hindu College, were made disabled-friendly.