Why public offices aren’t accessible to differently-abled: SHRC

Why public offices aren’t accessible to differently-abled: SHRC

Seeks reports from Estates and Social Welfare Department
JAMMU: The State Human Right Commission (SHRC) has directed Director Social Welfare Department and the Director Estates Department to file response as to why they are not taking measures to make the public offices accessible to differently-abled persons. According to a statement issued by SHRC, the directions were given by Justice Bilal Nazki, Chairperson of the Commission while observing a case titled Ajaz Ahmed Baba V/s State &Ors.
“Unfortunately the office of the J&K SHRC is located in the Ist Floor of an old building. To reach to Ground Floor one has to ascend/descend several steps between Ground Floor to Ist floor, and this office is almost at the height of 40 feet from the Ground floor and the government has not taken steps to make this office accessible to differently-abled people,” the statement said and added that the Commission has now devised a method to hear such persons in the open lawn itself. “But the poor people have to wait in open even during rains, snow, or summer,” it said.
The SHRC further observed that according to Section-3 of the Jammu and Kashmir persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1998, the state is supposed to constitute a Coordination Committee. The Constitution of the Committee is given U/S 3(2)) and the Committee is to be headed by Minister Incharge of the Department of Social welfare and Secretaries to the Government, Incharge of the Department of Social Welfare, Education, Finance, General Administration, Fisheries, Employment, Labour, Science &Technology as ex-efficio Members, besides, many other members. The functions of the state Coordination committee are mentioned in Section-8.
“Once again  Secretary Social welfare Department is directed to file a detailed report as to what steps have been taken to perform the function supposed to be performed by  Coordination Committee U/S-8 after its constitution. He shall also mention the particulars of the present Members of the Coordination Committee. This report shall be furnished by May 02, 2017,” the Commission has ordered.
Meanwhile, the Commission has said it will be facilitating the differently-abled persons through NGOs who are providing artificial limbs to such persons.
The differently-abled persons in need of artificial limbs can approach the Commission on any working day (expect Saturday & Sunday) at Commission’s Headquarters in Srinagar with representation (s) within one month.

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