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Madras High Court prevents state government from purchasing buses that are not disabled friendly

- July 22, 2021

Chennai, July 22(BPNS)

Madras High Court on Thursday restrained the Tamil Nadu state government from purchasing buses for public transport unless these buses are disabled friendly.

The first bench of the Madras High court comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy issued the interim injunction on a batch of cases pending in the court for long, seeking universal use of disabled-friendly buses.

Advocate General R Shanmughasundaram said that the government is purchasing disabled-friendly buses in phases as the poor condition of the roads would damage the low floor buses. Advocate Rita Chandrashekhar representing Metropolitan Transport Corporation said that the low floor buses cost Rs 58 lakh while the regular buses cost Rs 26 lakhs and hence there was a delay in purchasing of buses.

The bench rejected the petitions of the Advocate General and Advocate of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation and said that the government cannot give any kind of excuses as it was bound to implement the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016 and the statute framed thereunder.

One of the writ petitioners, Advocate Vaishnavi Jaikumar,  a cross-disability rights advocate contended that the Government Order violates section 41 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016. She stated that the act requires the State government to take suitable measures to provide persons with disabilities at bus stops, railway stations, airport,s and access to all modes of transport by even retrofitting old modes of transport wherever it was feasible.

The state government had in a GO on February 24, 2021, ordered introduction of only 10% of low floor buses and 25% of buses fitted with lift mechanism or any other mode to provide easy access to wheelchair-bound passengers out of the total buses to be procured by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation Chennai, Limited.