The court asked the Public Works Department and corporation to complete the works within three months.

Entrance to Kerala High Court
news Court Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 12:19

The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Corporation of Kochi as well as the Public Works Department to make roads and pavements more accessible to persons with disabilities. The court held that the institutions are duty bound under law to make necessary arrangements on roads and footpaths.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly observed that persons with disabilities, just like any other citizen, were entitled to enjoy “the fruits of life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.” The court also directed the corporation and the Public Works Department to “maintain and repair, and make arrangements for the roads and the footpaths under their respective control.”

The order was passed by the High Court based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Dr Mary Anitha, who runs an NGO in Kochi named Centre for Empowerment and Enrichment (CEFEE). The petition states that the poor and untimely maintenance and unscientific construction of roads and footpaths in the city was making it inaccessible to persons with disabilities.

Referring to the Kerala Municipality Act 1994, the court said that the state government Corporation has the duty to provide necessary amenities and convenience to the general public, which includes persons with disabilities.

“The promotion of welfare of the people, which includes special and essential requirements of the persons with disabilities and therefore, it is the inevitable function of the state and the local bodies to look after the affairs of these citizens also. Which thus means, any failure on the part of the state government or the authority concerned to discharge such duties can only be viewed as a serious and unpardonable lapse, justifying a writ court to step in to issue necessary directions,” the court observed.

Following this, the court directed the corporation and PWD to take immediate steps and asked that all the works be completed at the earliest with a deadline of three months. 

 

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