The Centre came under flak from the Supreme Court for the second consecutive day for not fulfilling the legal mandate to make its buildings disabled friendly.
Chief Justice of India Justice TS Thakur criticised the government for sitting over a file related to hiring of members for a panel to supervise implementation of the scheme.
“Your target was to make 50 government buildings accessible in state capitals by July 2016. But has it happened?” the bench asked solicitor general, Ranjit Kumar, wanting to know the name of the minister who sat over the file.
Reluctantly, Kumar gave the minister’s name as Thanvar Chand Gehlot. He blamed the earlier UPA dispensation for not taking steps to fill up the posts.
“But this government claims to be different. The system has been working unsatisfactorily. The Centre needs to activate its panel and that of states. Your central panel is in deep slumber and what to expect from states?” the bench told the SG.
The government is required to construct ramps to enable disabled access the buildings. However, the panel has not met for the last four years.
Kumar admitted the laxity on the government’s part and assured the needful would be done soon. He said the government called for a meeting on November 29 to review the progress. State representatives will be part of the meet.
At this the CJI remarked: “For the last four years panel didn’t meet. You suddenly wake up and have a knee jerk reaction to convene a meeting. This could have been done earlier.”
Kumar apologized, accepting the deficiencies. He said the work is in progress and the government has not yet achieved the target. However, the Centre was providing funds to states who are implementing the scheme.
He said the panel was in the process of identifying the buildings and will then suggest how to make the changes. now to make changes in the buildings
Kumar said the Centre is providing funds to states to implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Access India Campaign.”
SC suggested the Centre should hold region-wise meeting on the review of the schemes and adjourned the case to December 14 when the government will update the court on the outcome of its review meeting.