Showing posts with label Dignity for disabled. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dignity for disabled. Show all posts

Sunday, October 15, 2017

CISF amends guidelines to avoid humiliating security checks at Airports for people with disabilities

No X-ray screening for disabled at airports  (Times of India) 

Jasjeev Gandhiok | TNN | Updated: Oct 14, 2017, 

NEW DELHI: People with disabilities won't have to face lengthy and "humiliating" security checks at airports anymore, with the Central Industrial Security Force issuing guidelines on how to scan passengers on wheelchairs and those wearing prosthetics. While earlier, PWDs were required to go through an X-ray screening, now checking with a hand-held explosive trace detector (ETD) device will suffice. Passengers will be asked to go through an X-ray screening only if there is "sufficient doubt".

In addition, they won't have to remove their prosthetic limbs for security check. The decision came after a meeting was held on Wednesday between officials of CISF, the airport sector, BCAS and the ministry of civil aviation and representatives of NGOs working for PWD rights.

Earlier, a committee had been constituted to review the security-check process based on BCAS provisions to make it more "friendly" for PWDs. Officials said standard operating procedures would soon be formulated, which will be used across all 59 airports under CISF.

"All issues were addressed at the meeting, following which it was decided to tweak the system of frisking of such passengers. Now, a visual inspection and an ETD hand-held device scanning will suffice while wheelchair-bound passengers will also get relief," said O P Singh, CISF DG.

CISF officials said the screening officer would also be required to make an entry into a register each time he subjected a PWD passenger to an X-ray screening, stating the reason for doing so. "We are looking at any technological aid that can further make this process easier. CISF personnel at all 59 airports will now be trained and sensitized according to the new procedures," Singh added.

Disability rights activists welcomed the move, saying it was long overdue. "It's humiliating to get off the wheelchair and remove prosthetics for scanning. More people will look forward to flying again," said Javed Abidi, director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People.

Suvarna Raj, a wheelchair-bound para-athlete who has often faced inconvenience at airports, said the move would lead to greater accountability.

Source: Times of India 

CISF: Disabled no longer have to remove prosthetics for airport security  (DNA India) 

In a major relief to the disabled, the CISF will no longer carry out the "humiliating" airport security drill of asking people with disabilities (PWDs) to remove their prosthetics or make them get up from their wheelchair for screening at the airports. The announcement was made by the CISF Director General OP Singh.

The DG said that the Central Industrial Security Force will now use explosive trace detectors (ETDs) and visual profiling to meet the security needs. The Force will also conduct a country-wide survey to find out how many such passengers travel by air each day.

"The aim is to ensure that such passengers do not face any humiliation or uneasiness when they travel through Indian airports. We have seen numerous complaints in this regard. What we have decided now is to use explosive trace detectors and the visual profiling method of the passenger and his prosthetic tool or wheelchair rather than asking them to take out everything," Singh said.

The current procedure is to ask passengers to take off their prosthetics before boarding a flight and ask to get up from those on a wheelchair.

"We are soon going to issue a fresh list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to usher the new regime in a uniform manner," the DG said.

"We will also conduct a survey at all the 59 airports that we guard to see how many such PWD passengers we receive on an average. That will give us a fair idea as to how to go about implementing the new SOPs."

A senior official in the CISF airport sector said they have estimated that about eight-10 such passengers use Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) every day, the busiest airport in the country.

"Passengers with prosthetics will be asked to remove them only under compelling circumstances which will be purely security concerns. The same procedure will be adopted for wheelchair-bound passengers and those with other disabilities," the official said.

The director general added that CISF was also looking at "simplifying the security procedures for passengers with orthopaedic issues."

In case of prosthetics with foam padding, he said, CISF personnel will use new SOPs but can seek its removal, keeping in mind security concerns.

Disability rights activist Javed Abidi, who attended a recent meeting with the CISF authorities on the subject, raised his concerns during a recent conversation.

"I have travelled across the globe for so many years now but only at an Indian airport do I have to get down from my wheelchair so that the security personnel on duty can put it inside a large X-Ray machine to check it against explosives and other hazardous material that can be a threat to the aircraft or aviation security," Abidi, the convener of the Disabled Rights Group, said.

It is very difficult and embarrassing, he said, for people who have prosthetic or artificial limbs to take out the entire part in full public view inside an airport.

The CISF is the central paramilitary force tasked with guarding 59 civil airports in the country.

Source: DNA India

Friday, March 14, 2014

Delhi Election Commission plans for inclusive voting in Delhi

EC makes ‘special’ plans for inclusive voting in Delhi 

Facilities such as wheelchairs will also be made available at polling booths. 

To ensure that the differently abled are included in the polling process, the Delhi Chief Electoral Office is looking at providing special training to polling booth staff so that they are sensitive to the needs of various categories of the differently abled.

Facilities such as wheelchairs will also be made available at polling booths.

A meeting to chalk out an action plan for the same was held on Thursday. It was attended by representatives of various NGOs and civil society organisations such as Muskaan, National Association of the Deaf, Action for Ability Development and Inclusion, Koshish Special School, among others.

“After detailed discussion with NGOs and civil society organisations working with the differently abled, we got feedback about the facilities that would be required at the polling booths. We will be working to address the requirements of the different categories of differently abled. This would include behavioural training for our polling booth staff,’’ Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev said.

Under the project, the NGOs will first train the master trainers of the EC.

“We have 50,000 polling booth staff. To impart training to them, we will prepare audio-visual presentations to give them a wider understanding on how to help the differently abled of different categories. The needs of a visually-impaired person is very different from that of a hearing-impaired person,’’ an official said, adding that the idea was to prepare a template which the staff could follow.

Besides this, signage and  posters will also be put up at polling booths to facilitate the differently abled.

“We are also looking at allowing attendants to assist them in casting votes,’’ an official said.
Officials said ramps would be placed to ensure seamless access.

“We are looking at making wheelchairs available at all polling booths,’’ Dev said. The EC will coordinate with civic agencies to ensure proper infrastructure at the booths.

“…it is a welcome move that someone in the government had decided to include people with disabilities. Achieving the end goal might be difficult given the fact that there are only 20 days to elections. But if we work as a team, a lot can be achieved. Infrastructure modification will be required. There are 19 kinds of disabilities which are listed and each has a different requirement…,’’ Neera Chawla, deputy director and principal  of Muskaan, said.

Monday, February 22, 2010

We need indepent commissioners for Disability and a minimum wage social security

Dear Friends,

I second the demand of United Voices for Disability Equality in Odisha with little additions.

What we require is an Independent Commissioner for disabilities, with a rank equal to secretary & be preferably from the disability sector! Also the amount of social secruity has to match with minimum wages for skilled workers looking at cost of living index in each state. The charity doles of 500, 700, 1500 do not help the person with disability live an independent life. We need to say clearly "Please stop playing politics here, we are a potential vote bank of 10.21 lakh and if we include our families, friends and wellwishers, this number could be four fold and can be devastating for the prospects of any political party in the ensuing elections!

Here is the news report on demands of "United Voices for Disability Equality"

Hike in aid for the disabled

BHUBANESWAR: The number of persons with disabilities is 12.21 lakh. But Orissa is yet to have a full-time and independent disability commissioner .

Differently-abled persons under the aegis of United Voices for Disability Equality (UVDE) today demanded filling up of the post before the ensuing Assembly session for immediate redressal of the problems of people with disabilities (PWDs) .

The office of the commissioner should be outside the State Secretariat building with barrier-free access, they demanded saying currently the PWDs are facing many problems even to reach the official concerned .

It would be better if the commissioner can be selected from among the differently-abled persons or parents of the disabled children so that the actual problems of the PWDs can be solved immediately, they said .

The forum, after a day-long deliberations today decided to give a memorandum to the Chief Minister, minister concerned, Opposition members and all MLAs tomorrow. “If the Government fails to make an announcement before the Assembly session then we would hold a protest before the Assembly,’’ they said .

The UVDE, consisting of 11 organisations from 21 districts, also decided that they would be forced to go for an agitational path further if the Government would not pay any heed to their genuine demands during the session, they said adding in 18 states across the country disability commissioners are working independently according to the PWD Act passed by Parliament in 1995 .

They told mediapersons that even when a disability commissioner incharge takes the burden here, he/she cannot function independently as he/ she also looks after the programmes of other departments .

Some UVDE members even said that though the ruling BJD manifesto had been mentioning about appointment of a disability commissioner for the last three elections, no initiative is taken yet .

“Not only this is a betrayal, but politically it means a lot to all our 10.21 lakh member community,’’ they said alleging that by not appointing a disability commissioner the Government is violating the human rights of the differently-abled people, which are guaranteed under the PWD Act .

Not only the appointment of the official, but Orissa is still providing a monetary benefit of Rs 200 a month to differently-abled persons as assistance and it is far less than in other states .

While Goa is giving Rs 1,500 and Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Rs 900, Maharashtra and Kerala are providing Rs 700 a month .

On the other hand, while Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand are giving Rs 600, newly-formed Jharkhand gives double the amount of what Orissa provides, they said .

“With 2.78 per cent of the State population, we always deserve a better deal,’’ they pointed out and urged the Government to acknowledge their rights first which are ensured by the Constitution .

Friday, February 19, 2010

Leprosy cured/affected still begging for want of rehabilitation measures & non-acceptance of society

Give leprosy-affected a chance: Times of India

IANS, 31 January 2010, 03:05pm IST

"Maataji, Babuji, namastey, namastey!", he greets people brightly at the traffic light, a smile lighting up his creased face. Kondasamy is one 31st Jan, World Leprosy Day (Getty Images) among the hundred leprosy patients in Delhi.

If Kondasamy, in his 30s, has ever been pained by noticing people shrink away when he puts out his disfigured hand for alms, then he has chosen to hide it behind his ever cheerful veneer.

"Tum ko uparwala banaye rakhe (may the almighty bless you)," he says in humble thanksgiving to anyone who gingerly drops a coin into the aluminium can - taking great care to ensure they do not touch the utensil - dangling from his wrist.

Kondasamy, who belongs to Bangalore, says he is cured of the disease. "I am cured. I was cured 15 years ago," he says cheerfully.

Kondasamy begs for a living to feed his family - his wife, also a cured leprosy patient, and his two-year-old daughter, who does not have the disease. He stays at a Kusht Ashram (leprosy home) in south Delhi run by the government, where there are many others like him.

"Yes, we have doctors coming to check us and I take medicines," he says. His wife stays at home to look after the child. Like Kondasamy, some of the other inmates of the ashram go out to beg.

In India, the recorded cases of leprosy have fallen from 57.6 per 1,000 people in 1980-81 to less than one per 10,000 in December 2005, which is considered the level of elimination by the health ministry as short of total eradication.

One can spot leprosy patients outside major temples in the capital, including the Hanuman temple in Connaught Place and the Sai Baba temple in south Delhi's Lodhi Colony. They sit on wheelchairs, with their belongings - all stuffed into plastic packets hanging from the chair. The wheelchair is their home - come winter, summer or rain. For protection against inclement weather, they have a thick plastic sheet to cover themselves.

And on days when there is sufficient water, like when a pipe nearby has sprung a leak, one can see them squatting near the water source, soaping themselves and enjoying a bath, by the roadside.

Food is not a problem for them if they are positioned outside affluent temples. They often get to savour platterfuls of puri, halwa, aloo subzi - all distributed by the devout on special auspicious days - notably Tuesdays and Saturdays. On other days, they get enough alms to buy food.

Leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease) is caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae. According to the World Health Organisation, the bacillus multiplies very slowly and the incubation period of the disease is about five years. Symptoms can take as long as 20 years to appear. Leprosy is not highly infectious. It is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.

According to the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP), a federation of 15 non-governmental anti-leprosy organisations, based in London, India currently has about 64 percent of all the new leprosy cases in the world, followed by Brazil with about 17 percent, then Indonesia with about 7 percent. Other countries reporting more than 1,000 new cases in 2006 include: Angola, Bangladesh, China, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, The Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

A cure for leprosy was identified in the form of Multi Drug Therapy (MDT) that came into wide use from 1982 following recommendations of WHO.

ILEP says: "Many of those cured of the disease will have to live with the consequences of leprosy. It is estimated that probably at least 3 million people are living with some permanent disability due to leprosy, although the exact figure is unknown."

In the national capital, MESH (Maximising Employment to Serve the Handicapped), an NGO working with 40 groups of disabled and leprosy affected people for their rehabilitation, trains them in different craft skills.

The leprosy affected or their children are trained in weaving, designing, woodcraft and toy-making. The end products - elegant bedspreads, table linen, cloth bags, stuffed toys and cards are sold at their outlet in Delhi and Hyderabad.

MESH held an exhibition and sale of handicrafts made by leprosy affected people at their south Delhi outlet Saturday, and also screened a documentary "Towards Dawn".

Friday, January 15, 2010

Deaths at Asha Kiran- isn't this a criminal negligence on part of State?

Dear Friends,

"Poor maintenance or lack of basic amenities could be contributing factors, however prima facie all the deaths seems to be natural" ! The statement doesn't inspire confidence.

It is evident that the deaths occurred due to lack of facilities which is equally criminal negligence of duty when compared to inflicting a fatal blow on some hapless person entirely in your custody with no chance to escape! Are you really serious about the human rights of those whom you put in institutions and forget?

Can the Government of Delhi own up the negligence on its part and fix the responsibilities of lapse and and provide for appropriate systems at the earliest?

The human rights record is so poor when it comes to disabled people here. And the Govt. is answerable to the nation and international community soon with the State Progress report on actions taken by Govt. in light of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites" falling due in May 2010.

DCPCR must act and ensure that those at fault are booked in terms of law and immediate preventive action are taken to restore dignity of life and basic services in the state run home by Delhi Govt.

Around 75 inmates died between 2004 and 2008 at the complex

Published on 01/14/2010 - 10:17:24 AM

New Delhi: The deaths of 12 inmates of a state-run juvenile home in one month were natural, the Delhi government said Wednesday in its reply to a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) notice. According to investigating officials, poor maintenance or lack of basic amenities could be contributing factors.

According to investigating officials, poor maintenance or lack of basic amenities could be contributing factors.

The NHRC Tuesday issued a notice to Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta asking for a detailed report into the cause of deaths of members of Asha Kiran Home and the state of affairs at the juvenile home, in north west Delhi's Rohini area.

"The Delhi government has filed a reply to NHRC. Of the 12 inmates who died, one was under 18 years. Prima facie the cause of death appears to be natural. However, based on that we won't close investigations. In previous reports, the home was found to lack basic requirement and had poor sanitation levels. We are going to see if the deaths had anything to do with that," a senior official of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) told IANS.

The NHRC was acting on a complaint filed by human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das who alleged that 12 mentally challenged inmates of the home had died in one month.

Media reports suggested that three of the 12 had died within 24 hours due to lack of basic facilities such as warm clothes.

An earlier report by the child right's panel in June last year had found that although sanctioned for 250 inmates, the only state-run complex for mentally challenged people in the national capital houses 750 mentally retarded men, women and children.

The children were found to be suffering from tuberculosis, seizures and skin diseases. The home lacked hygiene and proper sanitary conditions. Around 75 inmates died between 2004 and 2008 at the complex.

In many of these cases, the cause of death was epileptic seizures, which the DCPCR probe committee said could be owing to neglect of medical authorities.

The detailed report from the chief secretary sought by NHRC is due within four weeks time.

Asha Kiran- a state run hope for disabled reports 12 deaths in December alone!

Dear Friends,

Nothing is well at Asha Kiran. With the capacity of 350, you stuff 730 inmates, isn't this a violation of basic human rights of those who can't take care of themselves due to their disabling conditions that they live with?

Also are we providing sufficient support to the numbers housed there with one carer looking after 40 persons? Is it humanely possible for one person to care 40 inmates with varying degree of disability and associated medical condition like epilepsy, tuberculosis- forget about fever, cold, smaller injuries! This is gross violation and you can't expect the carers to work at Rs 3934/- per month and look after 40 people every day.

Perhaps it is the fear of catching infections that even the doctors do not examine them closely and properly! This is just not acceptable. The facilities need to be created /provided strictly as per norms as it is the responsibility of the Govt. Each life is precious !

Hope each one you are perturbed at the conditions that prevail at Asha Kiran in Delhi and several other institutions across length and breadth of India in similar state which never make headlines! If we tolerate it as an accepted norm, perhaps we don't deserve to be called a socialist democratic republic!

In December, 12 people died at this home for mentally retarded; few caregivers, little care, reveals report by Social Welfare Department

As the green ambulance rolls through the 7-ft gates of Asha Kiran complex, in Awantika, near Rohini, a middle-aged man looks out of the window, trying to capture one last glimpse of the outside world. Within seconds, the gates shut.

In December, 12 deaths were reported here — three of them within 24 hours.

The inquiry report by the Social Welfare Department (a copy of which is with Newsline) under which the centre works, concludes that death is not new for Asha Kiran.  Over the last four years, 128 inmates have died in the home. The complex, built for 350 people, now houses 730.

“The mentally retarded inmates suffer from multiple deficiencies as far as physical health is concerned. Because of this, particularly in respect of severely retarded inmates, life expectancy is relatively low,” reads the report filed by Director, Social Welfare, S A Awardi. According to the report, 60 per cent of inmates are in the “category of severely or profoundly mentally retarded persons.” Many inmates do not even survive a year. There is no segregation of people who have infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

The inmates are taken care of by ‘house aunties’. The staff reveals that each of them sometimes take care of over 40 people. They are paid Rs 3,934 per month for 8-hour daily job — which probably explains why a majority of the caregivers quit within days of joining.

“The inmates feed each other and give each other a bath,” said a sweeper working in the male ward. “There’s too much noise and it is not easy to work.”

The report states: “Many gave up their jobs after serving for a very short period. It is mentioned that providing every care like a mother to mentally retarded persons is really difficult.”

Constant medical care is available. But the staff say the doctors merely prescribe medicines without even closely examining the inmates.

Despite the fact that the walls of the complex are nearly 10-feet tall and the high gates are guarded 24-hours, the officials have even reported cases of children going missing. On December 24, the Social Welfare Department advertised in newspapers about two inmates. One of them, Raju, was 16 years old and 4.8 ft tall. He was admitted on 21 May and has been missing since 16 September. More bizarre was the case of the 7-year-old boy admitted in December 2006. The child was merely 3.6 ft tall.

December deaths
Dec 2: Krishna (16), living here since 2007. Post mortem report awaited
Dec 9: Anu (20), had been staying since 2006. Cause of death tuberculosis and epileptic fit
Dec 12: Ranveer Kumar (48), was admitted at Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Mangolpuri, since 16 November following dehydration and swelling in legs
Dec 14: Manjeet (55) was admitted at the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, suffered from swelling of body
Dec 15: Raj Kumar (42) admitted in Sanjay Gandhi Hospital since 12 December. Had swelling of body, difficulty in breathing
Dec 18: Seeta Gauri (19), living here since 1989. Cause of death cardio-pulmonary arrest
Dec 19: Sandeep, was under treatment since Nov 29 at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, was referred to LNJP. Cause of death Meningoencephalitis with refractory shock
Dec 25: Soni, living here since in 2007, died due to seizure disorder
Dec 27: Meena Payal (38), living here since 1999, postmortem report awaited
Dec 29: Angoori (19), living here since August 200, was suffering from asthma and TB
Dec 29: Sangeeta (21), had been living here since 1996. Body discovered several hours after death, was a victim of bone tuberculosis
Dec 30: Deepti (12) had been here since March 2009, cause of death epilepsy

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Disabled and Driving - Can both exist together or at the cost of each other?

Dear Friends,

I have been perturbed at the increasing evidences coming to light where people with disabilities are discriminated and not treated fairly on equal basis with others when it comes to licenses to using roads, pedestrian infrastructure, drive and registration of adapted vehicles. The moment the subject is touched, it is looked at as if the disabled is a security threat to others and can't just drive! The RTOs often behave in most irrational ways.

I wonder at times, whether disabled and driving a vehicle has any co-relation! Can both co-exist peacefully or at the cost of each other? From a disabled person's point of view and also from a human rights angle, they can co-exist as the ability to safely drive can not be judged at the fancies of few others who merely presume and are not aware of the abilities hidden!

In my opinion, it is not only the attitude of society that disables and reduces an equal participation of a person with disability but also our laws have loopholes and limitations which perpetrate this discrimination. For example central Motor Vehicles Act 1988 which seems to be a newer law compared to many other laws in India, but has made life difficult for those persons with disabilities who can & want to drive their vehicles/adapted vehicles. This law also makes no provisions to support disability access related requirements at street crossings and intersections so that every person with disability, children, elderly, sick people, women, those carrying luggage could use the roads with safety and ease.

(a) Provisions of Access at pedestrian pavements, crossings and Traffic Signals

The Motor Vehicles Act seeks to consolidate and amend the law relating to motor vehicles in India. Section 116 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides for power to the State government to erect traffic signs in any public place for regulating speed limits, prohibitions or restrictions and for the purpose of regulating motor vehicle traffic. However, it makes no provisions for auditory signals or tactile marking at Zebra Crossings.

In order to enable blind or deaf persons to be warned about oncoming vehicles at zebra-crossings while crossing road, it is necessary that while fixing traffic signs at public places as also at zebra crossings, the Government/Public authorities also provide auditory signals and markings at zebra crossings for the benefit of persons with disabilities. Secondly, the pedestrian pavements along side the road are often absent and sometimes if present are not leveled for easy access to wheel chair users.

These lacunae in the Motor Vehicles Act can be easily plugged by adding following Proviso to Sub-section (1) (a) of section 116 of this Act.

“Provided that the State government or any local authority authorized in this behalf shall erect traffic signs, install auditory signals at red lights in the public roads, curb cuts and slopes in pavements so as to provide inclusive, un-interrupted continuous pedestrian and road infrastructure , for effective participation of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.”

(b) Can the Deaf legally drive in India? : Provisions Related to driving licenses to persons with hearing impairment.

The Indian Motor Vehicle Act didn’t permit the persons with hearing impairment to be issued with driving license hence despite being capable to drive personal vehicles; they remained legally ineligible to drive in India for a long time until the Delhi High Court in its judgement in Feb 2011 turned it in favor of deaf people. [blog updated on 27 June 2017]. World over, in many countries the hearing impaired people are permitted to drive and hold licenses, however this discrimination had somehow continued for  a long time in India in absence of any concerted effort from the deaf users or from the state. This is just a beginning and much needs to be done to take this awareness to the RTOs in whole of India so that there are no problems on the ground in implementing it.

(c) Driving licenses to persons with orthopedic disabilities.

The guidelines related to issuance of driving license to persons with orthopedic disabilities are also discriminatory and needs amendments to make them rights based. In my opinion the word “Invalid Carriage” is derogatory and improper and should be changed to “Motor Cycle with/without Gear (Adapted/Altered Vehicle driven by a person with disability)”. The driving license given to Persons with Orthopedic disabilities should be universal like it is for every one else rather than limited & specific to a vehicle number.

(d) Registration of adapted motor vehicles driven by persons with orthopedic disabilities.

An adapted /altered Scooters or an adapted Car with suitable modification like hand brakes and gears provides an easy mobility to a user with orthopedic disabilities.

People with orthopedic disabilities (especially those with Post Polio Residual Paralysis and those with spinal injuries) often prefer a scooter with side-wheels which is an economic mode of transport. Since almost no major company produces such scooters (called an invalid carriage!!!) in India, people with disabilities have to get the fabrication done through local mechanics and fabricators etc. However registering such vehicles and driving license to drive such (invalid carriage) is an uphill task as the rules and law do not specifically provide for this and leaves room for subjectivity and corrupt practices and it leads to exploitation of a user with disabilities at the hands of middlemen and RTOs.

Such an adapted vehicle is registered as ‘Invalid Carriage’ at the whims and fancies of the RTO. To harass the disabled applicants, the RTO often ask the user to produce a sale letter (form 21) of the Invalid Carriage. Now, since no automobile manufacturer in India supply company-fitted scooter with side wheels or produces an invalid carriage, such a sale letter can not be produced. Here starts the harassment to the user and malpractices in absence of laws due to subjectivity available with the RTOs.

Even when the carriage is registered, the user is given a driving license denoting the vehicle number on the license meaning that the user can not drive any other similar vehicle in case the vehicle goes out of order. This necessitates seeking a new driving license each time with a new vehicle (even if the vehicle is similar),

As per the Rule 126 made under Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (as amended in 2002) the prototypes of all vehicles including the one for the disabled should be approved by the Pune-based Automobile Research Association of India, otherwise no modifications on any vehicle can be permitted and one has to use a vehicle in the same shape and design as supplied by the manufacturing company. This puts an undue restriction on the persons with disabilities and takes away from them their right to free mobility.

Similar is the case for adapted Cars. Previously, Maruti Udyog Ltd. used to manufacture special type vehicles for handicapped persons with suitable modifications/ attachments. As the requirement of different persons with different disability varies, the modifications/attachments also have to be different. Since the prototype of each model has to undergo the test, under Rule 126 of CMV Rules, the manufacturer has stopped production of such vehicles. Hence it is desirable to allow modifications/alterations of vehicles enabling the handicapped to drive their own vehicles.

Mr. Jagdish Motwani’s Case

I have two specific instances of past. One Mr. Jagdish Motwani from Mumbai faced similar situations and wrote to the Pune-based Automobile Research Association of India, and received the following clarification in Nov 2006:

1. Currently there is no specified / notified procedure for the testing and certification of such systems in our country as a retro-fitment on existing vehicles.
2. The vehicles fitted with such systems have to be verified and certified by the Regional Transport Authorities as an “Invalid carriage”.
3. The suitability of the modified vehicle for the person with a particular disability for purposes of safe driving has to be examined by a medical practitioner and certified so, with respect to the nature and type of disability.
4. The Regional authorities would verify the report of the medical practitioner and also ensure that the physically challenged person is able to drive the vehicle safely.

Ms. Sudha Girish Tendulkar’s Case

Recently another case of Ms. Sudha Girish Tendulkar has come to light. She had been using an Activa adapted scooter for past 15 years and wanted to move on to an adapted car. She even bought the car with her hard earned money and a raised loan and got it adapted/modified to her needs in terms of law with due permission from the RTO. However, the RTO has been refusing to register the vehicle and not issuing her a licence to drive. In fact the wise(?) RTO want to see the driving licence before registering the vehicle in her name and Ms. Sudha’s case is that unless the vehicle is registered and a learner’s licence is issued to her how can she learn driving the car?

Here the detailed news report on her plight:

Mumbai: For 38 years, Kandivli resident Sudha Girish Tendulkar did not let her polio come in the way of life. She’s not about to give up the fight now, either.

Tendulkar needs crutches to walk, but she learnt to ride a scooter when she was 23. The HR executive, who works for Goregaon-based Excel Cropcare Ltd, has been travelling to work on her Activa for 15 years, but now wants to learn to drive a four-wheeler. She applied for a vehicle loan, purchased an Alto and even got it modified to make it disabled-friendly with the sanction of the Regional Transport Office (RTO).

But while Tendulkar and the car have been road-ready for six months, the physically challenged woman is still waiting for the car to be registered. Despite repeated requests and several visits to the RTO, her papers are yet to be processed, she claims.

What’s more, Tendulkar alleges that the Andheri RTO officials have now asked her to appear for a driving test before they sign the papers.

“How can I appear for a driving test when I don’t even know how to drive the car? They need to register it first, and then grant me a learner’s licence. Only then can I learn driving, and thereafter appear for the test,” she said.

For 15 years, Tendulkar travelled 12km to her workplace on the Activa, which had a side-car to provide balance. “Since it can be controlled with hands, I could ride it with ease,” Tendulkar said. But she met with an accident and dislocated her right shoulder two years ago. After she recovered, her doctor advised her to use a four-wheeler as it would be safer.

Accordingly, Tendulkar applied for a vehicle loan and bought an Alto on August 10, 2009 for Rs2,85,000. “I also spent an additional Rs34,000 to modify it. The brakes, accelerator as well as the clutch can be controlled with hands, as opposed to a normal car,” she said. “All this was done with the RTO’s permission. The officials even checked the car after the modification and submitted a report on October 14, 2009. But I am yet to get the registration done.”

“Tendulkar has been working here for 17 years and has never given us any reason to complain,” said NK Amin, vice president, HR, Excel Cropcare Ltd.

Amin said “we are a disabled-friendly company”, which employs two other physically-challenged persons in the Mumbai office.

Transport commissioner Deepak Kapoor said that he was aware of the matter and would see to it that action was taken by Monday.

“Since she is physically challenged, she wanted certain special permissions for the license and registration, which can be granted only by the government of India. We wrote to the government two months ago, and as a special case, I directed the Andheri RTO officials to assist her immediately,” said Kapoor.

However, the government raised some technical queries such as the nature of disability, her ability to drive, how the car will be driven, how the car has been modified, etc. This happened soon after the Nagpur assembly session started, said Kapoor, admitting that there had been a delay in preparing the answers.

“Nevertheless, last Saturday, I assured the lady that her case would be dealt with on a priority basis, and by Monday, all required documents will be checked and sent to the government,” said Kapoor.


Such lacunae can be removed by supplementing Section 52 of MV Act as below:

Present provision: “no owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of registration are at variance with those originally specified by the manufacturer”.

Suggested Addition: “Provided that persons with disabilities shall be allowed to alter their vehicles so as to drive themselves at authorized workshops/centres and such vehicles shall be registered by the RTO after inspection and on the basis of fitness certificate issued by such authorized workshop/centre/ manufacturer.”

Few other points should be observed in order to end the discrimination against disabled on the above issues:

a) Register the vehicle made by companies as Motor Cycle with or Without Gear and not as an Invalid Carriage.
b) Empower the concerned RTOs/authorized workshops/centres to test and approve a modified scooter owned and used solely by a physically challenged person and amend the rule 126 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 accordingly.
c) Further exempt all the private vehicles driven by persons with disability from the Road Tax. Though this provision exists, but is not commonly known among the users with disabilities.
d) Registration and issuing driving licences should be within a time bound manner and any delay on the part of RTO to be viewed seriously and strictly dealt with. Lapses would amount to deficiency in service and hence user be entitled to compensation.
warm regards
Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Advocate-Disability Rights

Thursday, July 30, 2009

DoPT fails to give IAS post to Hearing Impaired Aspirant despite clearing the exam thrice!

Dear Friends,

We saw a similar fight by few others including Shri Ravi Kumar, a candidate with Low vision who cleared Civil Services exams almost thrice and was denied by DoPT because no post was identified for disabled! Even after court's verdict, the PMO had to intervene and issue a consolation that posts have been identified for the disabled.

However, this case of Shri Maniram reveals the inherent apathy and lackadaisical attitude of the Govt. of India to include people with disability in the mainstream despite clearing their exams and competition at their own merit - forget about reservations and relaxation of standards!!

Such incidents only indicate that MSJE and GOI have failed the disabled segment, the PWD Act and the UNCRPD that India signed with so much fanfare! When this Government would stop looking at Disability from a medical angle of percentages ? If the person can prepare and clear the exams at his own merit at 100% disability then what is the fun of insisting a 70% disability to be eligible for which he has been made to undergo a cochlear implant? Now none of the Govt. Hospital has facility to measure the degree of disability!

It may be relevant to mention here that Shri Maniram is already working satisfatorily in Rajasthan Administrative Service having proved his mantle there but DOPT and Central Civil Services seem to purposefully perpetrate discriminatory exclusion agaisnt those with disabilities.

Is this because the central bureaucracy doesn't want the disabled segment in its fold? Is it because the DoPT doesn't know about abilities inherent in the human diversity such as those with hearing disability ? The issue is of attitude and approach which is negative and unwelcoming to those experiencing disabilities and should be condemned.

Such practices should be discouraged in the strongest words possible as these perpetrate the age old practice of looking at disability from medical model. Why can't the assistive aids and devices with modern technology be used to provide reasonable accommodation to Maniram to facilitate him a better and congenial working atmosphere?

I think the Govt. doesn't seem to have understood the concept of reasonable accommodation and their ignorance is proving to be so dear to thousands of aspirants. The inaction on the part of Govt. deserves shame and the sector should stand up united against such discrimination.

This is a fit case where he should be appointed immediately with all benefits like seniority of service, back pay and other benefits besides compensation for the mental agony and harassment suffered.

DoPT should be penalised for failing to facilitate his appointment since 2005 despite clear cut rulings of Courts, Directives from PMO and stated legal position! Has the gentleman filed any case in the court of law seeking immediate appointment and compensation?

Warm regards

S C Vashishth, Adv

Click here to read the article from source: Govt deaf to Maniram's cry for justice

Rema Nagarajan, TNN, 26 July 2009, 05:31 am IST

He's deaf and has cleared the civil services exam three times — in 2005, 2006 and 2009. And yet, he continues to be cheated of his dream job — joining the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The first time, Maniram Sharma was turned away by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) because there was no policy of accommodating a deaf candidate. The second time he cleared the exam, the policy bottleneck was sorted out. But with a rider — only candidates with less than 70% hearing disability qualify for the IAS provided they cleared the exam. Maniram, being 100% deaf, was not eligible for the service. But he didn't give up.

To improve his hearing, Maniram had a surgical cochlear implant, costing Rs 7.5 lakh. He appeared for the IAS again this year and achieved the highest score in the hearing-impaired category. But his medical examination categorized him as 70% disabled — just a shade higher than the qualifying disability level. The finding itself was strange. Of the 791 candidates selected this year, Maniram's score in the interview was among the top 50 (220/300). And he scored these marks in an interview that required direct interaction — an improbable feat if he were 70% disabled.

Previously, when Maniram had cleared the written exam and reached the interview stage, an LCD projector was used to put questions on a screen. That was in 2005 and 2006 when he was 100% deaf. ENT doctors in Delhi's RML Hospital, where he had his cochlear implant, have certified he has a 100% permanent hearing impairment, discounting the implant done by its own doctors which has now helped him hear.

The ENT doctors' board of Sawai Mansingh Hospital in Rajasthan, his home state, constituted to assess Maniram's hearing, has said that audiometry and other specific tests are required to assess hearing in a patient with a cochlear implant. And these were not available in the institute.

Dr J M Hans, former head of RML's ENT department, who conducted the surgery on Maniram says that the only way to measure the hearing of a person with cochlear implant is with an instrument called electrical BERA or "brainstem evoked response audiometry", which is not available in any government hospital. "The government ought to allow the test, which is available in the private sector, to be used by candidates," he says.

Dr Han's observation raises another question - if this instrument is not available in government hospitals, including RML, how did the doctors measure Maniram's hearing loss as over 70%?

Maniram is from Badangarhi, a remote village in Alwar district, which doesn't even have a school. He started losing his hearing at the age of five, becoming totally deaf by nine. His parents, both illiterate farm labourers, could do little to help. Yet, Maniram continued trudging to the nearest school, 5 km away and cleared class 10 standing fifth in the state board examination and cleared class 12 ranking seventh in the state board.

In his second year in college, he cleared the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) examination to become a clerk-cum-typist. He studied and worked during his final year and topped the university in Political Science. He went on to clear the NET (National Eligibility Test). He then gave up his RPSC job and became a lecturer. Not satisfied with that, he became a Junior Research Fellow and completed his Ph.D in Political Science during which time he taught M Phil and MA students in Rajasthan University.

Having completed his Ph.D, Maniram got through the Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) and while in service he started trying for the civil services. Will his efforts be in vain?

Friday, July 17, 2009

You might be tried under Criminal Law if you call a disabled person on his disability!

Dear Friends,
This seems to be a path breaking development and Shri D N Chowdry deserves accolades. In order to ensure dignity and respect as equal citizens of this country to the persons with disabilities, Maharashtra State Legal Commission has submitted a report recommending that insulting a person with disability for his disability should be considered as a Crime under Criminal Law and be punishable.
An overall welcome move
This is a welcome move as even today people with disabilities are discriminated against; called by their disability not by their name, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas and not given their due rights which the Indian Constitution guarantees them.
Such recommendations if enacted as an enforceable law can change the ground situations entirely. Any such law is actually a great level player for marginalised segments and gives them a ready tool to enforce their equality and rights on society if the society lags behind in accepting them as equal partners deserving equal dignity and respect. This is on the lines of The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 that was enacted to instill a confidence and to stop and prevent atrocities against dalits. Proponent of Dalit Rights term this Act as an important milestone in their fight for equal rights in independent India.
Why not insert such provisions in the Persons with Disabilities Act?
I also feel, we Indians are so proud to enact a number of laws and then carrying them on our back without any implementation mechanism. The existing central law like The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation), 1995 are yet to be implemented in full letter and spirit. This law doesn't have prevention of atrocities as a separate section but is well covered under non-discrimination clauses, however, without invoking any criminal procedure for failure to implement or for discriminating. Thus if such a clause is added to this Act, the Act can actually become very strong.
Cautious lest the law is abused!
However, such a law in favour of disabled people should be taken up with a caution! We have seen in the recent past that the SC/ST Act has been largely misused against other members of society to settle personal scores and with vested interests and even used in political circles. Recently, the State Congress Chief of UP was got arrested using the provisions of SC/ST Act by Ms. Mayavati, the Chief Minister of UP!! Thus sufficient provisions need to be made so that the law is not misused.
Implement existing laws and UNCRPD
There is an urgent need to see that the existing laws and especially the UNCRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) that has acquired for force of domestic law after its acceptance and ratification by India, are implemented in true letter and spirit and a strict and time bound mechanism is ensured to see that the rule book prevails to achieve the mandate of these socially equalising enactments.
Warm regards
Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Insult on physical disability could be considered as punishable offence
Correspondent Thursday, July 16th, 2009 AT 10:07 PM
MUMBAI: Insulting a physically challenged person on his disability might soon be considered as an offence which would be punishable. A report submitted by the Maharashtra State Legal Commission to chief minister Ashok Chavan on Thursday emphasised that “insult on physical disability should be considered as an offence.”

The 21st report submitted by D N Chowdry, chairman of the Commission, recommended that insult on physical disability should be considered as an offence and there should be a provision of punishment.

The State government in April 2009 had asked the Commission to make recommendations regarding handicapped act and accordingly a 26-page report was submitted. Chowdry in the report recommends that calling a handicapped person on physical disability, speaking to them with disrespect, insulting on physical disability or abusing on disability as an offence and there should be a provision of punishment,.

Chowdry further said, “It was necessary to recommend that a handicapped person should be treated respectfully in the society. There is no such provision in the prevailing Central Act.”