HC seeks railway's reply on PIL to make Mumbai stations disabled-friendly

The Bombay High Court today sought a reply from Western and Central Railway on a public interest litigation alleging failure of authorities to make railway stations disabled-friendly.

The direction was given by a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka on a PIL filed by India Centre for Human Rights and Law seeking to make urban transport in the city accessible to the disabled, as provided under the law.

The bench asked the Western and Central Railway to file their affidavit by January 7 and adjourned the hearing until then.

The court had earlier opined that special facilities should be there on the platforms to allow disabled persons to board the trains without any problem.

Under the Persons with Disability Act, there is a special "non-discrimination" clause that makes it mandatory for the government and other agencies to make public spaces and transport facilities disabled-friendly, says the PIL.

The Act proposes to make rail compartments, toilets, aircraft and ships easily accessible to challenged persons and those using wheelchairs, the petition said.

According to the PIL, the Act also asks the government to provide auditory signals at traffic signals, engraving on the surface of zebra crossings and railway platforms and warning signals for the challenged.

"Despite the provisions framed under the law, the implementation was far from satisfactory," the PIL alleged.

Currently, the railway platforms are provided with auditory signals to indicate location of special compartment for physically challenged persons. However, low platforms and pedestrian overbridges make railway stations generally out of bounds for physically challenged persons, especially those on wheelchairs or without an escort, the petition said.

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