Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud while speaking at an event today said that despite laws mandating disability-friendly infrastructure, public transport, Govt and private buildings, hospitals, libraries, parks and many other spaces continued to be inaccessible for Person with Disabilities.
Justice DY Chandrachud remarks came while speaking at Third Professor Shamnad Basheer Memorial Lecture'. He was addressing the topic "Making Disability Rights Real: Addressing Accessibility and More".
Justice Chandrachud said despite laws mandating disability-friendly infrastructure, public transport and many other spaces continued to be inaccessible for PwDs.
Justice Chandrachud also remarked that some entities do not even pretend to comply with such laws, while others comply with them only with a view of getting their building and occupancy permits.
Justice Chandrachud pointed out that he has noticed that some ramps are so steep that an able-bodied person cannot walk down without falling over, let alone a person who uses a wheelchair. "This is just the tip of an enormous iceberg of problems with the implementation of disabilities-friendly policies," he said.
Abidi once requested professor Stephen Hawking, who once visited India to deliver a lecture, to help in the disability rights movement. Professor Hawking declined but informed him that he was going to visit Qutub Minar and other monuments in Delhi.
Abidi and his colleagues approached the ASI and requested them to install ramps at these historic sites that were on Prof Hawking's agenda. ASI has built ramps overnight and installed them at all monuments.
Prof Hawking and his spouse visited Qutub Minar and made a wish for the ramps to stay even after they leave. Justice Chandrachud stressed that Governmental or private entities must ensure that laws and policies are being complied with.
Justice Chandrachud also spoke about the movie titled 'Margarita with a Straw', where the character Laila is a young student who has cerebral palsy.
In the movie, Laila's band participated in a music event and was declared a winner but the happiness was short-lived when the judge of the competition shared that they awarded Laila's band first place because Laila, a disabled person, wrote the lyrics. Laila was unhappy as he felt that the judge pities her and that the award is a consequence of her pity feeling.
Justice Chandrachud referred to this as a story for every judge in the country and said that "when we do justice to the disabled, we do justice not out of pity but justice in recognising their rights under the law and the constitution."
People with disabilities are required to be treated as equals.
Justice DY Chandrachud remarked that someone born with a disability or becomes disabled later in life as disabilities can be of many forms, they can be physical, mental, intellectual or learning-based.
He also pointed out some disabilities are invisible and many chronic illnesses are also disabilities.
Justice DY Chandrachud also pointed out that there is a tendency for people to view disabled people as being very different from able-bodied people.
Justice DY Chandrachud also commented that the stereotypes that disabled people are burdensome or are defenceless victims also prevail in society and the differences between able-bodied people and people with disabilities give rise to immense stigmas in society.
Justice Chandrachud also spoke about discrimination against disabled people and remarked that these harmful stereotypes have a pernicious effect on disabled people and hinder access to educational scapes, public spaces, employment opportunities as well as free and full participation in society.
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