Showing posts with label Court of CCPD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Court of CCPD. Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Court of CCPD issues Suo Motu notice to Department of Posts for use of inappropriate terms as "Lunatic Account" for a person with autism.

Court: Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, New Delhi

Case No: 14668/1102/2023 

Case Title: Suo Motu against Department of Posts, Govt. of India & Anr. 

Date of Notice: 07 Dec 2023

Brief:

The Court of CCPD has taken cognizance of a news item published in the daily, “The Hindu” on 21.11.2023 (Chennai Edition) which says that ‘Post office opens ‘Lunatic Account’ for autisticman; plaint lodged’. According to the news item, a senior citizen-a telecom family pensioner, approached the GKM Postal Colony Post Office in Chennai some months ago to open a savings account and term deposit account in the name of his son who has autism.  He had requested to open a Guardian Operated Account, furnishing his son’s National Disability Identity Card and the Guardianship Certificate given under the National Trust Act. His account was opened but citing a colonial-era legislation, Section 12 of the Government Savings Bank Act, 1873, the Department of Posts is continuing the insensitive practice of classifying the account as “Lunatic Account”. 

Incidently, "as per the Section 12 of Government Savings Bank Act, 1873, persons with unsound mind or incapable of managing his affairs are defined as lunatics and as such, the same terminology is used in Post Office Saving Bank operations," clarified a communication from the department of posts.

The court highlighted the mandate of Section 13 of RPWD Act that provides that the appropriate government shall ensure that the persons with disabilities have rights equally with others to control their financial affairs and have access to bank loans and other forms of financial credit and enjoy legal capacity. The Section and the Preamble of the Act also provides that the autonomy, dignity, and privacy of persons with disability shall be respected;

The court also refered to the UN issued Disability Inclusive Language Guidelines launched by the United Nations in 2019 as part of its UN Disability Inclusion Strategy The said guidelines in its  Annexure I lists various commonly used terms, which should be avoided and has also mapped such terms with corresponding terms recommended by the UN. The policy of the UN aims to establish the highest levels of commitment and a vision for the United Nations system on disability inclusion for the next decade, and aims at establishing an institutional framework for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among other international human rights instruments and development and humanitarian commitments.

Here is the Suo Motu Notice:

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Court of CCPD directs Paytm (One 97 Communications) to prepare a roadmap to make existing features accessible and conduct an access audit

Court: Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of India

Bench: Ms. Upma Srivastava, CCPD

Case No: 13392/1141/2022

Case Title: Amar Jain Vs. MeitY, One 97 comunications Ltd & ors.

Date of Judgement : 31 May 2023

Brief:

In an order passed on 31.05.2023 by the Court of Hon'ble Chief Commissioner for Persons With Disabilities, Paytm has been asked to prepare a roadmap to make its existing features accessible, conduct an accessibility audit, and ensure that role-out of all new features have accessibility embedded for all categories of persons with disabilities.

Paytm being a private service provider is also governed by the mandatory requirements of accessibility. This is very positive and forward looking order since the Court of  CCPD has asked the service provider to conduct an accessibility audit and also remediate the existing & future issues. 

The court passed the following recommendations:

"That the Respondent No, 2 (Paytm) shall conduct a meeting with the Complainant to identify the issues relating to accessibility in newly added features. Further, the Respondent No. 2 shall also conduct accessibility audit of its app to identify issues relating to accessibility. Thereafter the Respondent No. 2 shall prepare a roadmap to address two issues, i.e. accessibility of existing features of the app and plan to ensure that all new features which will be added in future are accessible for divyangjan of all categories, right from the first day of roll out. 

That the whole exercise shall be completed by the Respondent No. 2 (Paytm) within 3 months of receiving the copy of this Order and in case the Complainant is not satisfied with the steps taken or the roadmap prepared by the Respondent No.2, the Complainant shall be at liberty to approach this Court again."

Read the order:

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Court of CCPD directs the Ola Cabs to make their app accessible to all users and allow independent and dignified use of app.

Court: Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of India

Bench: Mr. P. P. Ambashta, Dy CCPD

Case No: 13532 /1102/ 2022 / 159384

Case Title: Amar Jain Vs. Ani Technologies Private Limited (Ola Cabs)

Date of  Reccord of Proceeding (ToP): 31 May 2023

Next Date of Hearing: 04.07.2023

Brief:

The complainant challenged the inaccessibility of OLA Appplication. 

This Court sided with the preliminary observations made by the Complainant that addressing all the cccessibility chalenges in the  OLA app will take some time and thus some interim arrangements are to be made. 

The Court thus recommended that the Respondent shall make features such as pickup & drop location and driver information accessible for Persons with Disabilities within 4 weeks from the date of this Order, so that Persons with Disabilities become able to make these inputs without assistance of any other person.

The Court also recommended that within 4 weeks from the date of the Record of Proceedings (RoP). the Respondent shall conduct meeting with the Complainant and identily issues relating to accessibility of app and prepare a roadmap for making all features of the app accessible for Persons with Disabilities.

The court  further expressed that considering the continuous nature of the Complaint, this Court decides that hearing shall be conducted again in the present Complaint. The Respondent is directed to inform this Court about the compliance of above two recommendations during next hearing which shall be conducted on 04.07.2023.

This is also a good practice being followed by the Court to keep the matters live until substantial actions have been taken by the respondent to remediate the wrongs and thus is worthy of mention.

Read the Order embedded below:

Friday, December 2, 2022

Court of CCPD holds the SBI's Promotion Policy to grades of SMGS IV and SMGS V (2022-23) as discriminatory to employees with visual disabilities, recommends review.

Court: Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, New Delhi

Bench/Presided by : Ms. Upma Srivastava, CCPD

Case No:  : 13348/1021/2022

Case Title: Visually lmpaired Bank Employees Welfare Association (VIBEWA) Vs. The Chairman, State Bank of India & Ors.

Date of  Order: 01 December 2022

Brief of the Case:

The petitioner Visually Impaired Bank Employees Welfare Association (VIBEWA) is an association of visually impaired people working in the banking, insurance and other financial sectors in India. VIBEWA is the first association in the country formed exclusively for the empowerment and welfare of visually impaired employees in the banking and other financial sectors. 

VIBEWA challenged the impugned Promotion Policy issued by the State Bank of India on 21 Jan 2022 to the grades of SMGS IV and SMGS V (2022-23) as being discriminatory towards employees with vision disabilities vis-a-vis their non-disabled counterparts. 

On one hand the SBI has exempted employees with disabilities from RUSU (Rural and Semi Urban) assignments as a reasonable accomodation but the impugned promotion policy brings in the marks for mandatory assignments of branch experience, branch manager assignment and credit assignments as a pre-condition for promotion to SMGS IV and SMGSV without giving any suitable alternate to visually impaired employees. The policy under challenge gives a 5% weightage in the form of marks for work experience in branches while arriving at the final merit list for promotions to SMGS IV and SMGS V.  But in reality, no visually impaired officers are posted by SBI to these very assignments as the functions attacehd to these assignments are visual in nature. This means the visually impaired officers will be at mercy of junior  employees to perform a part of that function/task which would put them  in vulnerable situation in which high probabilility of commission of fraud exists. 

Most visually impaired in the officer cadre in SBI are posted in establishments other than branches such as regional offices, credit processing cells, zonal offices, etc., as the jobs in such offices are more suitable for them to be productive.  

However, the weightage in marks for branch experience would put those visually impaired without branch experience at a highly disadvantageous position for no fault of theirs’ and in fact would put them in a position of -5 (minus five marks) at the beginning itself vis-à-vis their non disabled counterparts.  Such a policy would not only put the existing officers due to promotion at a disadvantage but also would force others to get posted in branches where the assignments are not ideally suitable for higher cadres like MMGS III. This will jeopardize their entire career and thus is a ploy to withhold them from equal opportunities of promotion. 

The petitioner avered that the impugned policy acted as a ‘barrier’ leading to ‘discrimination’ on the basis of disability in carrier progression of officers with visual disabilities and defeats the spirit of RPWD Act, DoPT guidelines and SBI’s own equal opportunity policy and would simply mean that a officer with blindness would start with minus five (-5) in the merit list of the promotion vis a vis his non-disabled counterparts.

On enquiry of the Hon'ble court about the procedure which existed before this impugned promotion policy came into effect, the respondent informed that prior to the impugned policy, the requirement of operational assignment was not there.

Petitioner submitted that evidently the visually impaired in the banking sector have proved to be very productive in the jobs relating to marketing, recoveries, digital promotions, Human Resources, training, research, monitoring and follow up etc. and SBI is no exception. In fact, some visually impaired officials have received the highest ratings for their performance in their annual appraisal while competing with officials without disabilities, which means bank itself has recognized them as the best in that particular area of work. Therefore, the respondent bank as a reasonable accommodation should identify assignments/ job roles for visually impaired which they are already successfully performing and count such jobs in place of or equal to the mandatory assignments for the purpose of arriving at final merit list for promotion. And thus VIBEWA prayed before the court seeking directions:-

a.   Exempting visually impaired officials from the marks assigned to branch experience in promotions to SMGS IV and SMGS V in arriving at final merit list, as a reasonable accommodation. 

b.   Exempting visually impaired officials from mandatory assignments in arriving at final merit list for all promotions, similar to exemption from RUSU (Rural and Semi Urban) assignment, as a reasonable accommodation.

c.     To identify roles/ jobs that are performed by visually impaired officials and count the jobs/ work experience of visually impaired officers relating to marketing, recoveries, digital promotions, HR, training, research, monitoring and follow up etc.  as equivalent to the current mandatory assignment introduced by the impugned policy with respect to vision impaired employees, as a reasonable accommodation.

d.   In respect of any visually impaired official who is eligible for promotion to SMGS IV and SMGS V in the promotion year 2022-23, the respondent needs to exclude the mandatory branch manager/credit assignment and reconsider the candidature of such officials for the purpose of arriving at the final merit list. The final merit of such an official be arrived at excluding the marks for branch experience by normalizing their score to 100 by the marks they have scored out of 95.

"The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 provides for equality in employment. lt is certain that intention of the statute is that no policy can be framed which is discriminatory to divyang employees. Such a policy (impunged by VIBEWA) will leave divyang employees with Visual lmpairment in situation where they will either be dependent upon mercy of other employees of whom they are taking assistance of or else it will be impossible for them to perform such functions in individual capacity and hence they will never be considered to promotion to the posts of SMGS-IV and SMGS-V. The impugned promotion policy excludes divyang employees with Visual lmpairment hence, such a policy must be done away with or reasonable accommodation for visually impaired should be provided for in the policy.",  the court concluded.

Accordingly the Hon'ble Court made the following recommendations: -

a) ln case of divyangjan with Visual Impairment similar weightage in marks should be given to them for performing some other functions which they can easily perform in individual capacity and without exposing themselves to unnecessary risk. 

b) Complainant in its reloinder has given list of various posts. Functions associated with such posts can be performed by divyangjan with Visual Impairment in individual capacity. Hence, Respondent is recommended to consider performance of divyang employees with Visual Impairment holding such posts while evaluating them for promotion, instead of considering 'branch experience', 'mandatory branch manager assignment' and 'credit assignment'. 

c) Accordingly, the policy should be reviewed to prevent exclusion and provide reasonable accommodation for giving them equal opportunity in promotion.

Read the Order below: 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

MoRTH directed by CCPD Court to remove bottlenecks in verifying vehicle ownership type by NHAI for issuing Exempted Fastag to Persons with Disabilities.

Court:                 Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities

Presided By:     Ms. Upma Srivastava, Commissioner

Case No.:            13203/1092/2022

Case Title:          Githin Madhu Vs. The Chairman, NHAI & Anr.

Date of Order:   24.08.2022

Case in Brief:

In the instant case,  Mr. Githin Madhu- a person with vision impairment had applied online along with all the requisite documents for Exempted FASTag for his vehicle on the website https://exemptedfastag.nhai.org/Exemptedfastag/, the official website of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The regional office of NHAI in Kerala, however, rejected his application. 

When the complainant contacted the regional office on phone, he was told to him that NHAI doesn't have facility to verify the data base of RC issued by the Motor Vehicles department (parivahan database) to check the ownership as divyangjan online. Also the  physcial copy of the Vehicle RC (Registration Certificate) do not carry the information about ownership type.

The Court felt that this was precisely due to mismanagement and  lack of coordination between the NHAI and the Ministry of Road Transport, Govt. of India which made persons with disabilities to run from one office to the other merely to prove their ownership type of vehicle as Divyangjan and in turn were facing harassment in getting the benefit granted to them by Govt. of India. 

The exempted FASTag is provided to persons with disabilites in two cases:

(a) The vehicle is registered as Ownership type as "Divyangjan".

(b) The vehicle is designed, constructed or  adapted for the use of persons with disabilities (divyangjan)

During the course of hearing, the Exempted FASTag was provided to the complainant and the complainant informed that his grienvance is settled.  However, the court felt that the issue that still persist is related to trouble that persons with disabilities have to face in order to obtain exempted category FASTag.  It was also shared that while vehicle designed  or constructed for use by persons wiht disabiliteis are registered in RC as "Adapted Vehicles"  (formerly Invalid Carriages), however, for vehicle registered under ownership as Divyangjan this status was not mentioned in the RC. Thus the officials of NHAI were not able to verify the ownership status  from the RCs of the vehicle and they did not have access to the parivahan data base to very the same, resulting in rejection of the applications made by such candidates with disabilities.

Considering the facts and for making the system more accesssible for persons with disabilities, the court thus passed an order endorsing a copy to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,  to grant access to the online portal  www.vahan.parivahan.gov.in to NHAI so that the Ownership Type status of Divyanjan  could be verified online for the purpose of issuing FASTags to persons with disabilities and they are not made to run from one office to the other to prove their vehicle ownership type.  

Court has sought an Compliance Report from the Ministry of Transport & Highways within 3 months of the passing of the order.

Read the order embedded below:

Court of CCPD directs Practo Technologies to make its website & App fully accessible for persons with disabilities within 6 months, also holds that Min. of Health is the domain regulator

Court:               Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, India

Presided by:     Ms. Upma Srivastava, Commissioner 

Case No.:         13205/1102/2022

Case Title:        Rahul Bajaj Vs. Practo Technologies Pvt. Ltd. [PTPL] & Others.

Date of Order:  24 August 2022

Next Date of Hearing cum Compliance:  20 September 2022

Subject: Inaccessibility of Website, Mobile and Tablet and non-compliance with the standards of accessibility as prescribed under rules.

Brief: 

The Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in this important order stressed that the  private establishments are also bound by the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD Act) 2016. 

The  Court of CCPD was hearing a complaint filed by a lawyer with 100% visual impairment, Rahul Bajaj, on March 22, 2022 regarding the website and app being inaccessible and not in compliance with accessibility standards. The complainant  had submitted that the home screen of the app was unorganised and inaccessible with screen reading software, some buttons were not labelled and others had “nonsensical labels” like “tertiary half one image label”. Complainant also said Practo was not in compliance with Section 46 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) Act, 2016, which sets a two-year timeline for service providers “whether government or private” to provide services in accordance with Central government accessibility rules.

The CCPD Court  ordered Practo, the online healthcare service provider, to make its website and app fully accessible for the disabled, affirming that legal requirements and guidelines on accessibility applied to private companies and establishments as well.

The Court recommmended that Respondent No. 1, i.e. Practo Technologies Pvt. Ltd. shall comply with the government guidelines and shall make necessary modifications within 6 months and not later than 9 months from receiving the copy of this Recommendation Order, to its app and other Information & Communication Technology platforms to make such platforms accessible for divyangjan.

Practo   Practo  in its reply had denied the allegations and submitted that it was not bound by the guidelines that require establishments to provide accessible services, however, it expressed willingness to make its platform accessible for persons with disabilities and sought nine months to make the changes as it involved “severe engineering efforts”.

Referring to Section 46, the court said: “Mere reading of this Section leaves no doubt that the provision is applicable on private establishments as well.” The court also said that Rule 15 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017 made standards for physical environment, transport and ICT mandatory for every establishment.

Court of CCPD also recommended that the Director-General of Health Services under the Health Ministry should ensure that Practo was accessible for Persons with Disabilities being the domain regulator under the law. 

The court has fixed the next hearing for compliance and to monitor the implementation of the statutes related to accessibility as 20 Sep 2022, considering the wider social aspect of the issue of accessibility. 

Read the order embedded below:

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Court of CCPD directs Kerala Gramin Bank to give promotion to a candidate with blindnesss on equal basis with others.

 Court:         Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, India

Case No.     13186/1021/2021

Case Title:   Sukulal Vs. Chairman, Kerala Gramin Bank 

Date of Order: 04 August 2022

Subject:    Discrimination in promotion on the basis of disability to a blind candidate, Relaxation of Standards, Reasonable Accommmodation


Read the order embedded below: