HC directs Chief Secretary to appear through video conference

The Madras High Court on Monday directed the Chief Secretary and Transport Secretary to appear through video conference on December 10 and assist the court in disposing of writ petitions filed in 2005 and 2007 for operating disabled friendly buses and ensuring a barrier free environment for the physically challenged in public places.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha summoned the officials after senior counsel E. Omprakash, representing one of the petitioners and amicus curiae T. Mohan reported to the court that the transport corporations had not been purchasing disabled friendly buses despite a specific order passed by the court on April 6, 2016.

The then Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul (now a Supreme Court judge) and Justice M.M. Sundresh had disapproved of the practice of purchasing buses dedicated for the use of the physically challenged and operating them in select routes.

The judges had ordered that buses operated in all routes should be made disabled friendly.

“Steps to be taken for the benefit of the persons with special needs have to be inclusive in character. The idea cannot be to have separate buses but buses which are used daily by passengers meeting the requirement of persons with special needs… We thus direct that any new bus must meet the requirement of people with special needs,” the judges had ordered.

After this order was passed, the State government had procured more than 4,300 buses and around 800 buses had been purchased for the Metropolitan Transport Corporation which operates buses within Chennai city. However, not all of those buses were disabled friendly, Mr. Mohan complained to the court and sought appropriate orders.

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