Delhi Court issues landmark ‘ORDER’ to ensure accessibility at religious places for persons with disabilities as per “Guidelines for Making Religious Places Accessible” authored by Svayam

New Delhi, 16 October 2019, Wednesday

While on 16th October, 2019, the Supreme Court completed the hearings on the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid Case and reserved its verdict, another landmark Order on access to religious places for persons with disabilities issue was passed by the Court of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD) Delhi, on the same day. The Court ordered all religious places in Delhi to incorporate accessibility in time bound manner, to ensure inclusive worship for all, including devotees with disabilities and elderly.  

Cover page of 'Guidelines for Making Religious Places Accessible'
Cover Page of ‘Guidelines for Making Religious Places Accessible’ authored by Svayam and published in partnership with the CCPD, MSJE, GOI

In view of the mandatory provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016, the Court, in July 2017, took suo motu cognizance of inaccessible built environment at religious places in Delhi and issued notices to all District Magistrates seeking information. None of the respondents submitted the sought information and action plan in respect of the places of worship apparently because most of these belonged to private establishments/trusts. 

In May 2018, all the respondents (11 District Magistrates of Govt. of NCT of Delhi) were advised to take appropriate action to make the places of worship in their districts accessible for persons with disabilities to ensure that they are also able to enjoy their right to worship on equal basis with others.  They were also requested to obtain information from the concerned authority/ organization and an action plan with timelines to make each place of worship accessible and to send a consolidated list to the Court by 4th July 2018.

Following no response from the concerned District Magistrates except DM, South East and DM, North-East despite reminders, suo-motu cases were registered.

It is pertinent to note here that the Hon’ble State Commissioner Sh. T.D. Dhariyal, himself visited several religious sites in Delhi across faiths and found none of them accessible.

Some District Magistrates had submitted Police Station-wise information, while others gave sub-division-wise information and District Disaster Management Authority-wise.  However, the Hon’ble court in its order appreciated the action taken report by District Magistrate (West), Ms. Neha Bansal who submitted physical verification of 202 places of worship while also setting 31.03.2020 as the target date for making rest of the places of worship accessible. 

Read the full article here.

For the Court’s ORDER, click here.

To download the ‘Guidelines for Making religious Places Accessible’, click here.

About Equal Opportunities

Svayam - Global Centre for Inclusive Environments, is an initiative of Sminu Jindal Charitable Trust based at New Delhi, India and works for promoting dignity for people with reduced mobility. It advocates an enabling and accessible environment for all. Walkability, Urban Mobility, Green & Inclusive mobility, Accessible Transportation system, Accessible Tourism and Accessible Public Infrastructure and accessible Information and Communication Technologies are few areas it works with special focus to make communities more inclusive and liveable. Svayam is also the Permanent Secretariat for TRANSED Series of Conferences (www.transedconferences.com) under the aegis of Transportation Research Board of National Academies, USA. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @SvayamIndia and on Instagram as @svayam_india
This entry was posted in Access audit of community infrastructure, Accessibility in public infrastructure, barrier free public buildings, Delhi, Discrimination on grounds of disabilities, Svayam, Svayam India, Svayam Press Releases. Bookmark the permalink.

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