In a bid to ensure that the Maharashtra government becomes disabled-friendly, the Bombay high court has directed it to implement training in technology that will help the visually challenged staff in various government departments.
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar, on Saturday, directed the government to ensure that technologies for the visually challenged like verbal calculator, reading machines and others are made available to their staff after providing them with proper training.
The exercise will be initiated for the visually challenged and will subsequently be extended to other disabilities as well.
The high court has also directed all local government bodies to allocate 5% of their budgetary expenditure towards welfare of the physically challenged.
The high court has appointed a committee to help the government identify posts where visually challenged could be appointed to. Although the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity and Protection of Rights and Full Participation Act), 1995, provides for 3% reservation for the physically challenged in all government posts, the government has not filled most of the posts.
Apart from officers from the concerned government departments, advocates Gayatri Singh and Kanchan Pamnani have been appointed on the committee.
At a hearing conducted on Saturday at the high court, various government authorities and NGOs working towards the welfare of the physically challenged were present.
Sam Taraporewala, professor with the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged, gave a presentation on various technologies available to assist the visually challenged.
Advocates Uday Warunjikar and Jamshed Mistry informed the court that although the central government has allocation of funds for welfare of physically challenged, it was not utilised by the government.
The high court has issued notices to the Centre asking it to file an affidavit explaining its budgetary allocation for the physically challenged.
In addition, the court has also added the Medical Council of India as respondent, and asked it to include persons with disabilities as a subject in their curriculum. This would help understand disabilities better, said advocate Kranti LC, who is assisting Gayatri Singh.