Showing posts with label Delhi High Court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delhi High Court. Show all posts

Friday, December 15, 2023

Delhi High Court Grants Relief in Landmark Judgment: Upholding Rights of Persons with Disabilities Against Unjust Transfer [Judgement included]

Court: Delhi High Court 

Bench: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Chandra Dhari Singh

Case Title: Bhavneet Singh Vs  Ircon Internatioal Ltd. through Chairman & MD & Ors.

Case No: W.P.(C) 12404/2022, CM APPL. Nos. 37256/2022 & 10458/2023

Decided on: 15th December 2023

Cases Refered:  Net Ram Yadav Vs. The State of Rajasthan & Ors. 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1022

Facts of the Case

The petitioner, an individual with orthopedic disabilities with a 72% locomotor impairment, field this petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, challenging a transfer order issued by IRCON International Ltd.  relocating the petitioner from the corporate office to the Chhattisgarh Rail Project.

Alleging non-compliance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the petitioner contended that such a transfer would lead to undue harassment, pose health risks, and deprive him of essential medical care. The petitioner argued that the transfer contravened Articles 14 and 16, as well as the provisions of the Disability Act.

In response, IRCON defended the transfer, citing administrative necessities, professional interests, and the amenities available at the new location. They asserted that the move was not intended to be malicious and even offered additional benefits to the petitioner at the new place of transfer.

Upon careful examination of the reasons presented and consideration of the applicable legal standards, the court ruled that the transfer order violated Article 14 and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. The court underscored the importance of ensuring equal opportunities and suitable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Consequently, the court set aside the transfer orders, granting relief in favor of the petitioner.

Read the Court Judgement dated 15 Dec 23 below:

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Delhi HC seeks Response of Delhi University on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

Court: Delhi High Court

Bench:  Mr. Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav

Caste No(s): W.P.(C)  5390/2022

Title: Jayant Singh Raghav Vs. University of Delhi & Ors.

Date of Order: 08 November 2023

Next Date of Hearing:  07 December 2023


On a plea moved by one Jayant Singh Raghav, a student with visual disability of the Delhi University, raising the issue of provisions facilities and reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities during examinations.

The court asked the varsity to satisfy in the affidavit as to how the provisions of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, as well as the suggestions given by amicus curiae Advocate Kamal Gupta have been implemented. “As a last indulgence, 7 days time is granted to the respondent no.1- University to file comprehensive affidavit to satisfy as to how the provisions of the Act of 2016 and the suggestions/report of the Amicus Curiae have been implemented by the University,” the court said.

On March 10, the amicus curiae had handed over his report to the court wherein certain suggestions qua physical infrastructure and accessibility in the CLC as well as regarding Raghav were made. The report suggested that the Accessibility Guidelines and Standards for Higher Education Institutions and Universities, 2022, framed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) must be implemented immediately in CLC, Delhi University in time bound manner. 

It was also suggested that an access audit of CLC must be directed to be conducted immediately and a report be submitted to the court. The amicus curiae also suggested that at least 10 more ramps with tactile at various locations must be ordered to be erected immediately in the varsity and that a washroom for the disabled individuals be made functional on each floor as there was only one such toilet at present in the entire campus of CLC.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for the Delhi Univeristy submitted that the repair work in toilets, corridors, open areas and provision of tactile and other facilities for persons with disabilities at CLC has been completed by the agency upto the satisfaction of varsity’s competent authority.

However, the court said, “Needless to state that the same was not only the expectation or the requirement under the provisions of the Act of 2016 or in the report submitted by the Amicus Curiae. It is to be seen that there are various other requirements to be adhered to by the respondent no.1-University,”.

Here is a copy of the order dated 08 November 2023:-

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Delhi HC directs Kendriya Vidyalaya to provide reservation to Deaf and Hard of Hearing candidates through a special recruitment drive

Court: Delhi High Court

Bench:  Satish Chandra Sharma, Chief Justice, Sanjeev Narula, Justice.

Caste No(s): W.P.(C) 17460/2022 

Title: Court on its own Motion Vs. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan & Others

Connected matter: W.P.(C) 665/2023 National Association of the Deaf Vs. Union of India & Ors.

Date of Judgement: 01 November 2023

Neutral Citation: 2023: DHC: 7914-DB

Cases referred:  National Federation of the Blind Vs. Kendriya Vidvalaya Sangthan & Ors., 2023:DHC:7551-DB


The present petition was registered as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) based upon a letter dated 07.12.2022 of the National Association of Deaf (NAD/ the Association) through its President Mr. A.S. Narayanan being aggrieved by Advertisements No.15/2022 & 16/2022 issued by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) inviting applications for various posts of Principal, Vice-Principal, Post-Graduate Teacher (PGT), Trained Graduate Teacher (TGT), Librarian, Primary Teacher (Music), Finance Officer, as well as other posts. The NAD in its letter had stated that the advertisements issued by KVS were violative of statutory provisions as contained under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (the RPwD Act).

The bench while holding the recruitement exercise by the KVS on the basis of 2013 job identification list instead of the current 2021 job identification list as violation of the statutory provisions as contained under the RPwD Act, directed the KVS to conduct a speccial recruitment drive and recruit the persons with hard of hearing and those who are deaf on the posts s per the law.

"The KVS – in respect of the identified posts as per the notification dated 04.01.2021, shall issue an advertisement and shall clear the backlog of vacancies within a period of six months from the date of receipt of certified copy of this judgment." directed the Bench.

The court observed that the KVS has assumed a power which never vested in it (of deleting the identified posts on their own by instituting some internal committee). The task of identification as well as of exemption of posts falls in the domain of the appropriate government and not the KVS.

"It is unfortunate that disabled persons are being compelled to file writ petitions and are being compelled to run from pillar to post by an organization like KVS. They are not claiming any charity, and they are claiming their rights as guaranteed to them under the RPwD Act. The legislature has laid down a noble vision of providing “reasonable accommodation” to persons with disabilities so as to ensure that all possible special measures are adopted to enable the PwDs to perform to the best of their ability. Despite so, instead of creating such reasonable accommodation, the respondent has looked down upon the PwDs from the lens of inconvenience." expressed the bench.

Direction on Addressing the Policy Disconnect

The court said in its order, "Before parting, we feel constrained to observe that there appears to be a mismatch in the understanding of different departments regarding the mandate under RPwD Act. Whereas the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Nodal Ministry under the RPwD Act) has upgraded the list of posts suitable for the PwDs, the thought has not percolated to the departments which conduct recruitment. A similar “policy disconnect” was noted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Vikash Kumar v. Union Public Service Commission and Others, (2021) 5 SCC 370, wherein the stand taken by the Nodal Ministry was found to be in contrast with the stand taken by the recruiting agency – UPSC. This policy disconnect had led to a situation wherein different departments are made to learn the same lesson after individual cases travel to the constitutional Courts. The direct impact of this practice is to compel the PwDs to assert their basic rights before judicial fora, something that cannot be termed as desirable. In this regard, we direct the concerned Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to issue suitable guidelines for the implementation of reservation policy by all departments in a uniform manner. One step may go far in the fulfilment of our promise to the PwDs. 

Read the Judgement in W.P.(C) 17460/2022 dated 01 Nov 2023

Monday, October 16, 2023

Delhi HC holds KVS recruitment advertisement as unsustainable for denying reservation to blind persons

Court: Delhi High Court

Bench:  Hon'ble Satish Chandra Sharma, Chief Justice, and Hon'ble Justice Sanjeev Narula

Caste No: W.P.(C) 9520/2018 

Title: National Federation of Blind Vs. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan & Others

Date of Judgement: 16 October 2023

Neutral Citation: 2023: DHC: 7551-DB


The Delhi high court termed a recruitment advertisement issued by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) as unsustainable as it excluded reservation for blind persons from the post of principal in a judgement dated 16 Oct 2023.

The court said that every act of exclusion that has the effect of compelling a person with disabilities out of a race for gaining employment without their fault is an assault on their dignity . 

A bench opined that the advertisement issued by the KVS in August 2018 for the posts of principal, vice-principal, PGTs, TGTs, librarian distinguished PwDs and had the effect of excluding them from the race of recruitment as the distinction was purely on the basis of disability.

“The impugned advertisement distinguishes the persons with disabilities from others and puts a restriction on their potential to participate in the recruitment process to their full ability. The distinction is purely on the basis of disability. The advertisement has the effect of excluding the persons with disabilities from the race of recruitment, in complete violation of the mandatory reservation provision. It may be noted that an act of discrimination is not only a denial of the promise of equal protection before the law. Rather, every act of exclusion is an assault on the dignity of a person. More so, when the exclusion has the effect of compelling the persons with disabilities out of a race for gaining employment, without any fault of theirs. Instead of providing an equal space to grow, we have been compelling the persons with disabilities to prove, time and again, that they are capable of a lot more than we think,” said the bench in its verdict.

The court also said, “We may usefully note that the power of identification of posts is bound by a procedure, which, amongst other things, involves consultation with experts including persons with disabilities. The persons with disabilities are the direct stakeholders in this exercise and the legislature has aptly carved out a provision for a consultative exercise with such persons. It is a manifestation of the principles of natural justice and there can be no deviation from the statutory procedure. Exclusion of a post, without engaging in a consultative exercise, shall also be violative of the principles of natural justice.”

The bench also opined that the Sangathan at the stage of recruitment and advertisement of vacancies was duty bound to reserve 4 % of the total number of vacancies, inclusive of vacancies against identified as well as unidentified posts.

The court cautioned that it was impermissible to exclude subjects which cannot be taught by PwDs at the time of reservation of vacancies.

“Once recruited, appointments can be made against the posts identified as suitable for respective categories of persons with disabilities. There is no power with the respondent or its committee to revisit and cut short the list notified by the government. The process of identification or its review is to be carried out by the appropriate government only. Further, the said exercise is to be carried out after constitution of an expert committee with due representation of persons with benchmark disabilities,” said the court directing the KVS to reserve the post of principal for blind persons, conduct an audit of the total number of vacancies in the establishment and prepare a vacancy based roster for recruitment of PwDs within three months.

“The rights belonging to the persons with disabilities are meant to secure inclusivity and human dignity. Such rights, although statutorily enacted, find their roots in the fundamental rights of life, equality and non-discrimination, as enshrined in the Constitution. The guarantee of equal opportunity to all equally extends to the persons with disabilities and while interpreting the benevolent provisions of the statutes in this regard, the court must be mindful of the same,” the court also said.

Read the Judgement in W.P.(C) 9520/2018 below:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Delhi HC passes important directions to make Court system accessible and to realise Access to Justice for persons with disabilities under Section 12 of RPwD Act 2016 and emphasizes "Active Judicial Conduct" to ensure PwD's actual, practical and meaningful participation in the judicial process and fair trial.

Court: Delhi High Court

Bench: Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma

Case No.: W.P.(CRL) 2500 / 2022

Case Title: Rakesh Kumar Kalra Deaf Divyang Vs. State Govt. of NCT of Delhi

Decided on: August 24, 2023

Cited as:  Revised Neutral citation-  2023:DHC:6132  ; 2023 SCC OnLine Del 5261


The petitioner, by way of above writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, sought issuance of appropriate writ, order or directions in the nature of mandamus thereby directing the respondent/State to constitute a Special Court as per Section 84 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and to make the criminal trial he is facing friendly to his disability so that he can participate in it fully.

"It was crucial that this Court examine the question in view of the issue raised by the petitioner herein as to whether the judicial system itself has complied with the requirement of equality apropos a person with disability who is an accused or petitioner before the court of law, while it administers justice." expressed the court.

The Court issued pivotal directions to address the critical issue of ensuring that persons with disabilities can actively participate in legal proceedings. The court emphasized that no citizen should feel denied of justice due to physical or mental disabilities, either because of the lack of appropriate infrastructure or insensitivity within the judicial system.

The case at hand involved a petitioner who had filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution and Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The petitioner, who had been deaf since childhood and also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder-induced eye cataract and post-traumatic fractured maligned joint stiffness, faced significant challenges in participating in trial proceedings related to allegations against them. The court recognized that these challenges infringed upon the principles of natural justice, contravened the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, and violated constitutional rights.

To address these issues, the court referred to the importance of fair trials as a fundamental right in the Indian criminal justice system, citing the case of Zahira Habibullah Sheikh v. State of Gujarat (2006) 3 SCC 374. The court highlighted the need to implement Section 12 of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, which aimed to make legal proceedings more accessible to individuals with disabilities. It also referred to the Supreme Court's E-Committee's Standard Operating Procedure on Preparation of Accessible Court Documents.

The judgment also pointed out the inadequacy of Special Courts under the RPWD Act, as they were limited to certain offenses. The court stressed the importance of alternative methods, such as the use of braille, sign language, and assistive technology, to enable individuals with disabilities to participate in legal proceedings effectively.

Additionally, the court provided a list of infrastructural improvements necessary to ensure accessibility, including facilities like wheelchairs, elevators, and sign language interpreters in courts. It called for judicial education and training to raise awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities, drawing inspiration from the cases of State of Maharashtra v. Bandu (2018) 11 SCC 163 and Smruti Tukaram Badade v. State of Maharashtra (2022 SCC OnLine SC 78.

The judgment underscored the need for a specific provision within the RPWD Act to address the requirements of witnesses, accused persons, advocates, and others involved in judicial trials and proceedings.

To ensure effective compliance with Section 12(4)(c) of the RPWD Act, the court issued various directives, including the provision of essential electronic gadgets, the creation of schemes to address the needs of accused persons with disabilities, and increased public awareness about available resources. The Delhi Judicial Academy was also tasked with holding sensitization programs for judges, lawyers, court staff, and police.

The Court was of the opinion that active judicial conduct to ensure access of persons with disabilities in  the judicial process will ensure achieving constitutional vision of justice of ensuring fundamental and human rights of persons with disabilities and their actual, practical and meaningful participation in the judicial process and fair trial.

In conclusion, the Delhi High Court's judgment emphasizes the importance of ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities, particularly in the context of the specific case. The court provides a comprehensive set of directions to address the challenges faced by the petitioner and others in similar situations. These directives aim to create a more inclusive and accessible judicial system, thus upholding the constitutional vision of justice. The authorities are required to implement these directives within a three-month period.

Read the judgemnet here:

Friday, August 18, 2023

Delhi High Court disposes of petition on Equal Health Insurance for persons with disabilities, after IRDAI and 29 Insurance companies bring out health policies for PwDs [Judgement included]

Court: High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

Bench: Justice Pratibha M Singh

Case No:  W.P.(C) 6074/2019

Case Title: Saurabh Shukla Vs. Max Bupa Health Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors.

Date of  Judgement : 18 August 2023

Brief of the Case: 

Please refer to our earlier post updating on the hearing dated 13 December 2022 in the present case titled "Delhi HC: Right to Life includes Right to Health, Referring to persons with disabilities as 'sub-standard lives' is 'unacceptable terminology', directs IRDAI to act."

The matter was further listed before the Court on 17th March, 2023. On the said date, in compliance with the directions dated 13 Dec 22, IRDAI placed on record a status report, giving details of the tasks undertaken by IRDAI. As per the said report, IRDAI had called a meeting of all general and health insurance companies on 18th January, 2023, where the relevant issues were discussed and a committee consisting of six senior officials from the various insurance companies was constituted. The Committee was entrusted with the following tasks: 

“i. Design and develop specific product/s for the following: 

     a. Persons with Disabilities (PWD) 
     b. Persons afflicted with HIV/AIDS 
     c. Persons having mental illnesses

ii. The design and development of the products shall be comprehensive enough to meet the insurance needs of the respective groups. 

iii. The complete documentation shall be developed -- Proposal form, Schedule, the Policy wordings including the various terms and conditions etc., apart from a Customer Information Sheet (Key Features Document).”

Thereafter, a model policy was drafted by IRDAI and a circular dated 27th February, 2023 was issued to all general and health insurance providers, directing them to launch products for persons with disabilities (PWD), Persons afflicted with HIV/AIDS, and those with Mental Illness, with immediate effect. IRDAI also complied with the third direction as contained in paragraph 26 of order dated 13th December, 2022 and the previously used expression ‘sub-standard lives’ in Regulation 8(b) of the IRDAI (Health Insurance) Regulations, 2016 was deleted.

The Petitioner was also offered a health insurance policy by Niva Bupa Health Insurance Company and expressed his willingness to avail of the policy, vide his email dated 1st March, 2023. However, the Petitioner had certain contentions against the specific details of the policy offered. Vide order dated 17th March, 2023, this Court directed the Petitioner to avail the health insurance offered by Niva Bupa, while allowing the Petitioner to make a representation to IRDAI on the issues of Amount of premium being charged, Loading charges, Amount of coverage and Period of Exclusion for Pre-Existing Diseases.

In terms of order dated 17th March, 2023, the following compliances were to be undertaken by IRDAI:

 i. IRDAI was to take a decision on the representation by the Petitioner and issue directions by 15th April, 2023; 
ii. IRDAI was to convey the decision on the representation of the Petitioner by 30 th April, 2023; 
iii. IRDAI was to notify all the insurance companies to submit their products in terms of circular dated 27th February, 2023 along with model policy and file a status report. 

Pursuant to the said order, an affidavit has been filed by the Deputy General Manager of the Health Department of IRDAI wherein the deponent states as under: 

“2 That after the issuance of circular dated 27.02.2023, all the general and standalone health insurance companies have filed their products for Persons with Disabilities (PWD), Persons afflicted with HIV/AIDS and those with Mental illness with Answering Respondent/IRDAI under the “Use and File” procedure dated 01.06.2022. It is respectfully submitted that as per Use and File circular insurers are not required to obtain any prior approval for launching and marketing their insurance product. Copy of the Use and File circular dated 01.06.2022 is annexed as Annexure A. 

3 That in compliance of the Circular dated 27.02.2023, all general and standalone health insurance companies have also launched their products for Persons with Disabilities (PWD), Persons afflicted with HIV/AIDS and those with Mental illness a list containing the details of products launched in accordance to Circular dated 27.02.2023 is annexed as Annexure B.”

In terms of the above averments made in the affidavit, the various general and health insurance companies including the four Government insurance companies namely New India Assurance Company, United India Insurance Company Ltd, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. and National Insurance Company Ltd. have launched products for persons with disabilities. The complete list of 29 companies who are stated to have launched their insurance products for persons with disabilities, has been reproduced in a table in the below judgement.

From the said table, it is clear that several insurance companies have launched products for PwDs. However, in respect of the products which have been launched, the Petitioner raises some objection qua the high insurance premium and the loading charges, that is being charged. The said consideration of the amount of premium of any company’s specific product would be beyond the scope of this writ petition. It is, however, observed that if any person insured is having a grievance on the amount of premium being charged, remedies in accordance with law are available to such persons. The Petitioner is given liberty to approach the concerned authority if he so desires. This Court however, would reiterate the decision of the Supreme Court in Vikash Kumar v. Union Public Service Commission, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 84, which has also been considered by this Court in Akshat Baldwa & Ors. v. Yash Raj Films & Ors., 2023:DHC:345 wherein the principle of reasonable accommodation has been highlighted to ensure that society and indeed the state, can provide additional support and facilities that are necessary for persons with disabilities to lead a life of equal worth and dignity.

The court furhter made clear that the merits of each and every product launched and whether the charges are reasonable or not has not been considered by the Court and the same was left open for consideration by any appropriate forum, which may adjudicate a challenge to the same. 

The IRDAI, being the sector regulator would also have an obligation to ensure that PwDs are not unduly prejudiced and give suitable directions to insurance companies, after reviewing the products launched. 21. Insofar as the decision of the IRDAI qua the Petitioner is concerned, the decision is stated to have been taken by the IRDAI on 19th April, 2023. The said decision of the IRDAI has been placed on record. The challenge to the decision is on the following aspects: 

i. Amount of premium being charged and loading charges imposed on the Petitioner etc. 
ii. Amount of Coverage iii. Period of exclusion for pre-existing diseases 

"The IRDAI’s decision is detailed and reasoned. The Petitioner has already availed of the policy in terms of the order dated 17th March, 2023. The Petitioner is free to avail of his remedies in accordance with law in for any outstanding grievances qua this decision of the IRDAI dated 17th April, 2023." observed the court.

This Court appreciated the assistance given by the parties and their Counsels, in ensuring that insurance products for persons with disabilities have been launched in India. The court admitted that the while the said products may not be the most ideal for persons with disabilities, this would merely be a first step in the process of achieving Equality for PwDs, which is the solemn intent of legislations including the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. 24.  And the court thus disposed of the petition accordingly.

Here is the detailed judgement:  

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Delhi HC summons Health Secretary, says it is unfortunate that permanent State Mental Health Authority not constituted till date.

Court: Delhi High Court

Bench: Hon'ble Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Hon'ble Justice Sanjeev Narula 

Case No: W.P.(C) 6952/2019 & tagged case: W.P.(C) 4468/2021

Case Title:  Amit Sahni Vs. Govt of NCT of Dellhi & Ors  and tagged case- Shreyus Sukhija Vs. Govt. of NCT of Dlehi & Ors.

Act: Mental Healthcare Act 2017

Date of Order: 02 Aug 2023

Next Date of Hearing: 15.09.2023


Observing that it is unfortunate that the permanent State Mental Health Authority under Mental Health Act, 2017, has not been constituted till date in the national capital, the Delhi High Court has asked Delhi Government’s Health Secretary to remain present before it on September 15, 2023.

“It is made clear that in case the permanent State Mental Health Authority is constituted as per the requirement of Sections 45 & 46 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, the personal appearance of the Secretary (Health), GNCTD, shall be dispensed with without further reference to the Court,” the division bench said in its order dated 02 Aug 2023.

The bench also directed the Delhi Government to comply with the statutory provisions under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 and the Mental Healthcare (State Mental Health Authority) Rules, 2018, including constitution of district mental health authorities.

In November 2022, the court was informed by Delhi government’s counsel that the process for reconstitution of State Mental Health Authority is underway and shall be finalised soon. However, since the same was not done, the court made the above observations.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Advocate Amit Sahni seeking effective implementation of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. It is his case that the lack of mental health authorities is adversely affecting the treatment of mentally ill persons.

Another plea tagged with the PIL has been moved by man seeking reconstitution of the State Mental Health Authority and also for setting up of Mental Health Review Boards as provided under the Mental Healthcare Act 2017.

Read the Order below:

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Delhi HC directs Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha University to provide 5% reservation for persons with disabilities as per RPWD Act 2016.

Court: High Court of Delhi

Bench:  Hon'ble Mr. Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, and Mr. Justice Saurabh Banerjee

Case No.:  W.P.(C) 6605/2023

Case Title: Justice for All  Vs. Govt of NCT of Delhi & Others

Date of Interim order: 17 May 2023 [PDF 1MB]

Date of Judgement: 25 July 2023 [PDF 967KB]


Delhi High Court has taken a significant step towards promoting inclusivity and accessibility in educational institutions by instructing the city government and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University to ensure a five percent reservation for specially-abled candidates.

This directive aims to uphold the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities for education.

The order came in response to a public interest litigation that alleged the respondent university was not adhering to the provisions of the Act.

While the university claimed to have provided a five percent quota for specially-abled candidates in all courses, the court directed the Delhi government and the university to make further efforts to ensure seats designated for specially-abled persons are indeed filled by candidates from all categories of disabilities.

On 17.5.2023, the court passed an interim order directing the university to provide the appropriate reservations for candidates with disabilities in the ongoing academic session. The petitioner, brought attention to the fact that the university was only offering a three percent quota instead of the mandated five percent under the Act. In response, the university filed an affidavit, confirming that it was indeed implementing a five percent reservation for specially-abled individuals.

Access the Judgement dated 25 Jul 2023

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

In a bid to make inspection of digitized court records accessible Delhi HC notifies rules applicable to all district courts and Tribunals under its control

Dear Colleagues,

The Delhi High Court has notified rules providing for electronic inspection of the digitized Court record of the High Court as well District Courts and Tribunal under its control and supervision. This will help litigants, lawyers alike in not only savinv their time and energy but also make it more accesssible to diverse group of users with disabilities.

These Rules shall govern the procedure related to the electronic inspection of the digitized Court record of the High Court as well District Courts and Tribunal under its control and supervision and shall be called “The Delhi High Court Rules for Electronic Inspection of Digitized Court Records, 2023”. The facility of electronic inspection of court record shall be in addition to the existing facility of physical inspection.

Below is the Gazette notification dated 18 July 2023 on the subject:

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Delhi High Court holds EPFO's action discriminatory in denying typing speed exemption to a candidate with upper limb disability.

Court: Delhi High Court 

Bench: Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. Kameshwar Rao & Honb'le Mr. Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta

Case No.: W.P.(C) 9255/2019

Case title: Raju Ranjan Vs. Union of India & Anr.

Date of Decision: 11 July 2023


A division bench of the Delhi High Court ruled in favor of an disabled individual's on the issue of exemption from the computer typing test for individuals with upper limb disabilities in a case involving the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). 

The Court acknowledged that when a clerical position is designated as suitable for individuals with upper limb impairments, it becomes impermissible to subject such individuals to a pre-employment computer typing test. This is because persons with disabilities in their arm or hand may face significant challenges in maintaining the required typing speed. Consequently, such a typing test would be deemed arbitrary and constitutionally impermissible.

As a result of this judgment, the Delhi High Court directed the Employees Provident Fund Organization to grant an exemption to a candidate with a disability in one arm from the computer skill test for the position of Social Security Assistant. The candidate's employment eligibility would be determined solely based on their performance in the written examination.

The petitioner, who has a 40% Locomotor Disability affecting one arm, argued that the EPFO failed to appreciate the nature of their disability, despite presenting an Exemption Certificate issued by the Competent Authority.

It was observed that the EPFO had identified the Social Security Assistant position as suitable for individuals with one arm disabilities, thereby fulfilling their legal obligation under the 1995 Act. However, the recruitment rules for this position required a typing speed of at least 5000 Key Depressions Per Hour (KDPH) for data entry work. This requirement was deemed arbitrary and discriminatory toward individuals with physical handicaps, particularly those with one arm affected, as it would be virtually impossible for them to achieve this typing speed.

The only logical application of the job advertisement would have been to grant an exemption to physically handicapped individuals with one arm affected. Regrettably, this was not done, and the EPFO did not prescribe relaxed standards for candidates with such disabilities. The petitioner, for instance, was able to achieve a typing speed of only 1935 KDPH.

The petitioner argued that the EPFO's conduct revealed that they had identified the position as a mere formality to show compliance with legal provisions, rather than a genuine intention to extend the benefits of the Act to potential beneficiaries.

Furthermore, the EPFO's actions were found to be arbitrary and discriminatory. Internally, the EPFO had granted an exemption from the computer skill test to all physically challenged Lower Division Clerks (LDCs) for their promotion or absorption into the Social Security Assistant position, even if the disability affected both hands or had an impact on computer operations. 

Access the Judgement here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

DHC seeks UOI's stand on a PIL seeking direction to enhance effective access for persons with vision impairments by placing QR Codes on Medicines, Food Products, Cosmetics & other Consumer products .

Court: Delhi High Court

Bench: Hon'ble Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Hon'ble Justice Subramonium Prasad. 

Case No: W.P.(C) 5985/2023 

Case Title: The Kapila and Nirmal Shweta Hingorani Foundation & Ors  Vs. Union of India & ors.

Date of Hearing : 09 May 2023

Next Date of Hearing: 16 Aug 2023


In a PIL moved by The Kapila & Nirmal Hingorani Foundation, a public charitable trust and two visually impaired Delhi University professors, a division bench of  Delhi HC issued notice to the Centre through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

The PIL seeks to secure effective access for visually impaired persons to medicines, food, cosmetics and other consumer products which is also a mandate of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, (RPwD Act 2016) whcih specifically provides for (i) measures/ schemes/ programmes to promote their healthcare (ii) standards of accessibility for information and communications, including appropriate technologies and systems, and other facilities and services provided to the public in urban and rural areas and (iii) measures to promote development, production and distribution of universally designed consumer products and accessories for general use for persons with disabilities among other rights.

The PIL submitted that visually impaired people face immense difficulties in taking medicines and they feel the shape and size of tablets and do not even have the benefit of differentiating drugs based on colour. Due to a lack of accessible information, visually impaired people may take wrong medicines, leading to major health problems, adverse reactions and even loss of life.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the petitioners Dr. Smriti Singh, associate professor (English) at Maitreyi College; and Shobhan Singh, senior assistant professor (History) Zakir Hussain PG Evening College, who are visually impaired, went through a horrible time, desperate for help and information, in absence of accessibility of medicines and food products.

The plea highlights that the scope for utilising the capabilities of smartphones with QR codes to help visually impaired persons identify products and access all relevant product information is huge. It referenced newsreports that India had 1.2 billion mobile subscribers in 2021, of which about 750 million were smartphone users. Furthermore, the number of smartphone users was expected to increase to 1 billion by 2026, with rural areas driving the sale of internet-enabled phones, which in turn were set to get a push with the government’s plan to fiberise all villages by 2025 under the BharatNet Programme.

The petitioners had sent a representation in December 2021 and a follow-up in February 2022 to the Prime Minister of India and another representation to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on February 21, 2022 which is yet to be responded.

The representation of the petitioners urged that all medicine manufacturers be directed to affix QR code on each tablet (or at the very least between two tablets) at the back of the strip so that a smartphone with accessibility feature could then scan the QR code with its stored data or information about the particular medicine, and decode it to convert the text to speech format of the application.

The PIL claimed that petitioners, on learning that some medicines in the market did have QR Codes (without full information/details of the medicine), also made follow-up representations. The plea stated that employing QR Codes in the manner suggested in the representations would increase the efficacy of medical care for visually impaired patients by reducing medication errors, incorrect dosages, unintended drug interactions and side effects.

The PIL has asserted that the continued lack of effective access to medicines, food, cosmetics and other consumer products constitutes a “denial of the constitutional rights of visually impaired persons under Article 21 of the Constitution” as well as their “statutory rights” under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.  The PIL has sought directions to the concerned authorities to secure effective access for visually impaired persons to medicines, food, cosmetics and other consumer products and towards this end, to take comprehensive measures and adopt comprehensive guidelines on affixing QR Codes on such products.

Matter will be next listed on 16 Aug 2023.

Monday, March 6, 2023

DHC directs Delhi Govt. to undertake Special Recruitment Drive To Fill Up Vacancies For PwDs

Court: Delhi High Court
Case No. : W.P.(C) 8455/2017
Date of Judgement: 06.03.2023
Neutral Citation Number: 2023/DHC/001652


While disposing off a public interest litigation filed by National Federation of the Blind alleging inaction on the part of the Delhi Govt. in implementing reervation for persons with disabilities particularly persons with visual disabilities, a division bench of the Delhi High Court directed Chief Secretary of the Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) to undertake a special recruitment drive for filling up backlog of vacancies for persons with disabilities (calculated rom 1996 when the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 was enforced @ 3% and from 2017 till date @ 4% in various departments or establishments in a time bound manner. 

The division bench also set out a time schedule to be followed by the GNCTD to carry out the special recruitment for filling up the vacancies. Directing the concerned departments, the court said, “The notification of advertisement by DSSSB/ UPSC, as the case may be, for filling up back-log of vacancies for persons with benchmark disabilities against requisition sent to them be issued within 30 days from the date of receiving requisition. The DSSSB/ UPSC, as the case may, shall declare the result and the process of appointment be concluded within a period of 30 days from the date of declaration of result/ interview.”

Read the detailed Judgement below:

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Delhi HC directs Yash Raj Films to make Pathaan movie accessible by providing audio description and subtitles for visually and hearing impaired users.

Court: High Court of Delhi

Bench: Justice Pratibha M Singh

Case No:    W.P.(C) 445/2023

Case Title: Akshat Baldwa & Ors. Vs. Yash Raj Films & Ors. 

Date of Hearing/Order : 16 January, 2023

Next Date of Hearing: 06 April, 2023


The Delhi High Court on 16 January 2023 directed Yash Raj Films to prepare audio description, close captioning and subtitles in Hindi language for the OTT release of its upcoming movie Pathaan to make it accessible for hearing and visually impaired persons. The movie is scheduled to be released in theatres on January 25 and will be screened on Amazon Prime later in April.

Justice Prathiba M Singh directed the producer Yash Raj Films to prepare audio description, close captioning and subtitles of the movie within two weeks and submit it to Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for a decision on re-certification by February 20. The court directed that a decision on recertification of the film be taken by March 10.

The court was hearing a plea seeking direction to make captions in the movie accessible for visually and hearing impaired persons and sought inclusion of audio description, close captioning and subtitles in the film in consonance with the rights of persons with disabilities.

The plea was moved by various persons with disabilities,  that included  a law student, lawyers and Executive Director of the National Association for the Deaf, seeking enforcement of various rights and accessibility requirements as prescribed under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and that the films released in India are not catering to the needs of the disabled. 

Rahul Bajaj, one of the petitioners appearing in person, submitted that while subtitles having been approved by the CBFC, the audio description and the closed captioning have not been made available and that even subtitling has been made only in English language and not in the language of the movie in question which makes it almost impossible for hearing and visually impaired persons to enjoy the film. Directions were also sought on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to notify required standards in this regard.

Noting that the petition raises “very important issues” as to accessibility of entertainment to the hearing and visually impaired persons, the court said that as per Section 42 of RPwD Act, the government has an obligation to take measures to ensure that all content is available in accessible formats for persons with disabilities.

“In the context of films ... special measures would have to be taken for the hearing and visually impaired persons inasmuch as the experience of watching a film in the movie theatre cannot be denied to such persons,” the court said.

Justice Singh also impleaded the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation, Film Producers Association and Ministry of Electronics an Information Technology as respondents in the matter.

Issuing notice to the respondents, the court said they shall place their stands on or before February 28..

“In the meantime, insofar as the theatrical show exhibition of the film, if the producer wishes to do so, they may contact the app providers to explore the possibility of providing audio description and subtitling to be done for future films,” the court said while listing the matter for hearing on April 6.

Below is the Order dated 16 Jan 2023

Judgement reproduced below:
Date of Decision: 16th January, 2023
W.P.(C) 445/2023 & CM APPLs.1752-53/2023
AKSHAT BALDWA & ORS.				..... Petitioners
Through:	Mr. Rahul Bajaj, Petitioner No.2 in person 

	YASH RAJ FILMS & ORS.				..... Respondents
Through:	Mr. Abhishek Malhotra, and Ms. Shrishti Gupta, Advocates for R-1. 
Mr. Chetan Sharma, ASG with Mr. Ravi Prakash, CGSC, Mr. Farman Ali & Ms. Usha Jamal, Advocates for R-2, 2A and 3 
Prathiba M. Singh, J. (Oral)

1.  	This hearing has been done through hybrid mode. 

CM APPL. 1753/2023 (for exemption)
2.	Allowed, subject to all just exceptions. Application is disposed of.

W.P.(C) 445/2023 & CM APPL. 1752/2023
3. The present petition has been filed by four Petitioners who are citizens, out of whom, Petitioner Nos.1, 2 and 4 are visually impaired and Petitioner No.3 is hearing impaired. Petitioner No.1 is a law student at National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, Petitioner Nos.2 and 4 are qualified lawyers. Petitioner No.3 is the Joint Secretary & Executive Director of the National Association for the Deaf.

4. The petition has been filed seeking directions against Respondent No.1 - Yash Raj Films, which is the producer of the film ‘Pathaan’, the two Ministries i.e., Respondent No.2 - Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Respondent No.3 - Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, as also, the Respondent No.4 - Amazon Seller Services Private Limited, which operates an Over-The-Top (hereinafter, “OTT”) platform namely, Amazon Prime Video, on which the said film is stated to be scheduled for release on 28th April, 2023.

5. The Petitioners seek enforcement of various rights and accessibility requirements, as prescribed under the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (hereinafter, “RPWD Act”). The prayers sought in the present petition are extracted below:

“The Petitioners, therefore, pray that in the facts and circumstances of the present case this Hon'ble Court may be pleased to issue writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ or direction to:
A. Directing Respondent No. 1 to provide AD and subtitling/captioning for the movie Pathaan, in theatres, Over-the-Top streaming platforms (through Respondent No. 4) and any other media in which the movie is made available;
B. A direction to Respondent No. 2 and 3 to take appropriate steps in effecting the provision for audio description and subtitling/captioning for the movie Pathaan;
C. A Direction to Respondent No. 2 and 3 to promptly notify standards of accessibility for captioning/subtitling and audio description; and 
Pass such other and further orders / directions / writs as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstance of the case.”
6. The case of the Petitioners is that, though various rights have been recognized for ‘persons with disabilities’ under the RPWD Act, most films which are released in India are not catering to disabled persons despite the statute having been enacted more than 5-6 years ago.

7.	Mr. Rahul Bajaj, Petitioner No.2 appearing in person, makes the following submissions:
i.	There are various tools that help make films disabled - friendly, but none of them have been implemented in the film ‘Pathaan’.  
ii.	The film ‘Pathaan’ is slated for release in theatres on 25th January, 2023. However, apart from the subtitles having been approved by the Central Board of Film Certification (hereinafter, “CBFC”), the said film does not make available audio description and closed captions. Even the approved subtitles are in the English language, instead of being in the language of the film, i.e., Hindi, and this makes it almost impossible for hearing and visually impaired persons to enjoy the said film.
iii.	The producers of the film ‘Pathaan’ ought to be directed to add the audio description, subtitles, and closed captions, before the release of the said film. 
iv.	The two Ministries, i.e., Respondent Nos.2 and 3, be directed to notify the required standards for accessibility to persons who are hearing and visually impaired. On this aspect, he submits that even though certain guidelines have been issued in the past, the same have not been implemented by the Ministries, and there are no sanctions for non-compliance of the same. Thus, a large number of films do not take the necessary steps to provide these tools which make the films disabled-friendly. 
v.	Reliance is placed upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Rajive Raturi v. Union of India, [(2018) 2 SCC 413].
vi.	Further reliance is placed upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Vikash Kumar v. UPSC and Ors., [2021 SCC Online SC 84]. 
8. On a specific query from the Court as to how visually impaired persons are able to enjoy films in a theatre, Mr. Bajaj submits that, in certain foreign countries, the theatres themselves make provisions for headphones to be plugged into the seats in the theatre, through which audio description is relayed in an audio format. However, in India, such facilities are not available in most film theatres. Despite this being the position, persons with visual impairment can enjoy the audio description of the films through certain mobile applications which can be downloaded on a smartphone, so long as the producer has an arrangement with the said mobile applications and provides the requisite audio description of the film to the application. It is submitted that there are two mobile applications available in India, namely, ‘XL Cinema’ and ‘Shazacin’, which provide such facilities for visually impaired persons.

9.	On behalf of the Respondent No.1 - Producer - Yash Raj Films, Mr. Abhishek Malhotra, ld. Counsel makes the following submissions:
i.	The film ‘Pathaan’ has already been approved by the CBFC. At the time of approval, the Producer has already submitted the subtitles for the film in the English language. The Producer has also received the certification for the film, which is slated to be released in theatres on 25th January, 2023. 
ii.	The Producers have entered into an arrangement with the OTT platform - Amazon Prime Video, for the OTT release of the film ‘Pathaan’ which is stated to be scheduled on 28th April, 2023. 
iii.	In principle, the stand of the Producers is that it would be willing to take any reasonable steps which may be required in order to ensure that its films are enjoyed by hearing and visually impaired persons as well. 
10. On behalf of the Respondent Nos.2 and 3 - Ministries, it is pointed by ld. Counsel that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued certain directions to the Film Producers Association, as also, to the CBFC, way back in October, 2019, to use audio description and subtitles/closed captions in all films. Since he is appearing on advance notice, ld. Counsel wishes to seek instructions as to the actual status of the said directions which have been issued, and the implementation thereof.

11. None appears for Respondent No.4 - Amazon Seller Services Private Limited. Accordingly, issue notice to Respondent No.4 through all permissible modes.

12. Heard. This Court is of the opinion that the present petition raises very important issues as to the accessibility to various modes of entertainment for the hearing and visually impaired persons. A reading of Section 42 of the RPWD Act, 2016 shows that the Government has an obligation to take measures to ensure that all content is available in formats accessible to persons with disabilities. The said provision is set out below:
“42. Access to information and communication technology.—The appropriate Government shall take measures to ensure that,— 
(i) all contents available in audio, print and electronic media are in accessible format; 
(ii) persons with disabilities have access to electronic media by providing audio description, sign language interpretation and close captioning; 
(iii) electronic goods and equipment which are meant for every day use are available in universal design.”
13.	In the context of films, the measures that can be taken by film producers to make them accessible to the hearing and visually impaired persons, are as under:
Audio description - which implies the verbal depiction of key visual elements in media and live productions. This involves description of the visuals on screen to enable imagination by the hearing (read visually) impaired;
Subtitling - which provides a text alternative for the dialogue of video footage – the spoken words of characters, narrators and other vocal participants, in the original language itself, as also, in the dubbed language in case of dubbed movies; and 
Closed Captions - which not only supplement dialogue but other relevant parts of the soundtrack – describing background noises, phones ringing, and other audio cues that need describing, 
These features would be integral to the enjoyment of films for persons with disabilities.

14.	In view of the above, special measures would have to be taken for the hearing and visually impaired persons, inasmuch as the experience of watching a film in a movie theatre cannot be denied to persons with disabilities. This is particularly true in view of the fact that the technology for the same is readily available. As submitted by Mr. Bajaj, several films in the past, such as Dangal, Black, Munna Bhai MBBS, are stated to have incorporated audio descriptions, subtitles and closed captions for the hearing and visually impaired persons. 
15.	Thus, considering the reliefs sought, there are two aspects that would be required to be considered:
i.	Firstly, directions insofar as the film ‘Pathaan’ is concerned, to make the said film comply with the prescribed accessibility standards, to the extent possible; and
ii.	Secondly, an overall solution that has to be found to ensure the implementation of the statutory provisions and other directions, to make films disabled-friendly for the hearing and visually impaired.
16.	The position of law as to the right to accessibility has been reiterated by Justice A.K. Sikri, speaking for the Supreme Court, in Rajive Raturi v. Union of India, [(2018) 2 SCC 413], wherein the Court observed as under:
“12) The vitality of the issue of ‘Accessibility’ vis-a-vis visually disabled persons’ right to life can be gauged clearly by this Court’s judgment in State of Himachal Pradesh & Anr. v. Umed Ram Sharma, where the right to life under Article 21 has been held broad enough to incorporate the right to accessibility. Relevant paragraphs of this judgment have been reproduced below:
“Read in the background of Article 38(2) every person has right under Article 19(1)(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India.  He has also the right under Article 21 to his life which embraces not only physical existence of life but the quality of life and for residents of hilly areas, access to road is access to life itself. Therefore, to the residents of the hilly areas as far as feasible and possible society has constitutional obligation to provide roads for communication in reasonable conditions. Denial of that right would be denial of the life as understood in its richness and fullness by the ambit of the Constitution.
  *    *    *
11. …..
13) Right to dignity, which is ensured in our Constitutional set up for every citizen applies with much more vigour in case of persons suffering from disability and, therefore, it becomes imperative to provide such facilities so that these persons also are ensured level playing field and not only they are able to enjoy life meaningfully, they contribute to the progress of the nation as well. In a recent judgment in Jeeja Ghosh v. Union of India, these aspects were highlighted by this Court in the following form:
37.  The rights that are guaranteed to differently-abled persons under the 1995 Act, are founded on the sound principle of human dignity which is the core value of human right and is treated as a significant facet of right to life and liberty. Such a right, now treated as human right of the persons who are disabled, has its roots in Article 21 of the Constitution. Jurisprudentially, three types of models for determining the content of the constitutional value of human dignity are recognised. These are: (i) Theological Models, (ii) Philosophical Models, and (iii) Constitutional Models. Legal scholars were called upon to determine the theological basis of human dignity as a constitutional value and as a constitutional right. Philosophers also came out with their views justifying human dignity as core human value. Legal understanding is influenced by theological and philosophical views, though these two are not identical. Aquinas and Kant discussed the jurisprudential aspects of human dignity based on the aforesaid philosophies. Over a period of time, human dignity has found its way through constitutionalism, whether written or unwritten. Even right to equality is interpreted based on the value of human dignity. Insofar as India is concerned, we are not even required to take shelter under theological or philosophical theories. We have a written Constitution which guarantees human rights that are contained in Part III with the caption “Fundamental Rights”. One such right enshrined in Article 21 is right to life and liberty. Right to life is given a purposeful meaning by this Court to include right to live with dignity. It is the purposive interpretation which has been adopted by this Court to give a content of the right to human dignity as the fulfilment of the constitutional value enshrined in Article 21. Thus, human dignity is a constitutional value and a constitutional goal. What are the dimensions of constitutional value of human dignity? It is beautifully illustrated by Aharon Barak (former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel) in the following manner:
“The constitutional value of human dignity has a central normative role. Human dignity as a constitutional value is the factor that unites the human rights into one whole. It ensures the normative unity of human rights. This normative unity is expressed in the three ways: first, the value of human dignity serves as a normative basis for constitutional rights set out in the Constitution; second, it serves as an interpretative principle for determining the scope of constitutional rights, including the right to human dignity; third, the value of human dignity has an important role in determining the proportionality of a statute limiting a constitutional right.” 
xxx xxx xxx
40. In international human rights law, equality is founded upon two complementary principles: non-discrimination and reasonable differentiation. The principle of non-discrimination seeks to ensure that all persons can equally enjoy and exercise all their rights and freedoms. Discrimination occurs due to arbitrary denial of opportunities for equal participation. For example, when public facilities and services are set on standards out of the reach of persons with disabilities, it leads to exclusion and denial of rights. Equality not only implies preventing discrimination (example, the protection of individuals against unfavourable treatment by introducing anti-discrimination laws), but goes beyond in remedying discrimination against groups suffering systematic discrimination in society. In concrete terms, it means embracing the notion of positive rights, affirmative action and reasonable accommodation. The move from the patronising and paternalistic approach to persons with disabilities represented by the medical model to viewing them as members of the community with equal rights has also been reflected in the evolution of international standards relating specifically to disabilities, as well as in moves to place the rights of persons with disabilities within the category of universal human rights. (See Report of United Nations Consultative Expert Group Meeting on International Norms and Standards Relating to Disability, 10-2-2001.) 
xxx xxx xxx
43. All these rights conferred upon such persons send an eloquent message that there is no question of sympathising with such persons and extending them medical or other help. What is to be borne in mind is that they are also human beings and they have to grow as normal persons and are to be extended all facilities in this behalf. The subject of the rights of persons with disabilities should be approached from human rights perspective, which recognised that persons with disabilities were entitled to enjoy the full range of internationally guaranteed rights and freedoms without discrimination on the ground of disability. This creates an obligation on the part of the State to take positive measures to ensure that in reality persons with disabilities get enabled to exercise those rights. There should be insistence on the full measure of general human rights guarantees in the case of persons with disabilities, as well as developing specific instruments that refine and give detailed contextual content of those general guarantees. There should be a full recognition of the fact that persons with disability were integral part of the community, equal in dignity and entitled to enjoy the same human rights and freedoms as others. It is a sad commentary that this perception has not sunk in the mind and souls of those who are not concerned with the enforcement of these rights. The persons suffering from mental or physical disability experience and encounter nonpareil form of discrimination. They are not looked down by people. However, they are not accepted in the mainstream either even when people sympathise with them. Most common, their lives are handicapped by social, cultural and attitudinal barriers which hamper their full participation and enjoyment of equal rights and opportunities. This is the worst form of discrimination which the disabled feel as their grievance is that others do not understand them.
xxx xxx xxx
46. It is the common experience of several persons with disabilities that they are unable to lead a full life due to societal barriers and discrimination faced by them in employment, access to public spaces, transportation, etc. Persons with disability are the most neglected lot not only in the society but also in the family. More often they are an object of pity. There are hardly any meaningful attempts to assimilate them in the mainstream of the nation's life. The apathy towards their problems is so pervasive that even the number of disabled persons existing in the country is not well documented.”
17.	Similar is the view taken by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, speaking for the Supreme Court in Vikash Kumar v. UPSC and Ors., [2021 SCC Online SC 84], wherein the Court held that the State, as also, private parties are mandated to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities. The relevant extracts of the said judgment are set out below:
“44 The principle of reasonable accommodation captures the positive obligation of the State and private parties to provide additional support to persons with disabilities to facilitate their full and effective participation in society. The concept of reasonable accommodation is developed in section (H) below. For the present, suffice it to say that, for a person with disability, the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to equality, the six freedoms and the right to life under Article 21 will ring hollow if they are not given this additional support that helps make these rights real and meaningful for them. Reasonable accommodation is the instrumentality – are an obligation as a society – to enable the disabled to enjoy the constitutional guarantee of equality and non- discrimination. In this context, it would be apposite to remember Justice R M Lodha’s (as he then was) observation in Sunanda Bhandare Foundation v. Union of India, where he stated:
“9…In the matters of providing relief to those who are differently abled, the approach and attitude of the executive must be liberal and relief oriented and not obstructive or lethargic…
53.   While most of the obligations under the 2016 RPwD Act are cast upon the government or local authorities, the Act and rules made under it have also imposed certain obligations on the private sector. The role of the private sector in the market has increased manifold since the advent of liberalisation in India. The RPwD Act 2016 recognizes that with the burgeoning role of the private sector in generating employment in India, an active responsibility has to be cast upon private employers to create an inclusive workforce by providing persons with disabilities equal opportunities in the job market. However, the guarantee of equal opportunity must be accompanied by the provision of reasonable accommodation. The Rules framed under the 2016 RPwD Act stipulate that private establishments shall not discriminate against persons with disability on the ground of disability. It is to be noted that the definition of discrimination under Section 2(h) of the 2016 RPwD Act includes denial of reasonable accommodation. Private employers are mandated to frame an equal opportunity policy. Equal opportunity policies for establishments having more than 20 employees are required to include provisions relating to (i) appointment of liaison officers in establishments to look after the recruitment of persons with disabilities and provisions of facilities and amenities for such employees; (ii) identification of posts/vacancies for disabled persons; (iii) provision of additional facilities and benefits such as training facilities, assistive devices, barrier free accessibility, preference in transfer and promotion, allotment of residential accommodation and special leave.  The 2016 RPwD Act further provides that private establishments have to conform with accessibility norms stipulated by the Government with respect to building plans. The 2016 RPwD Act also provides that 5% of the workforce of establishments receiving incentives from the appropriate Government would be comprised of persons having benchmark disability.”
18. A perusal of the above judgments would show that accessibility is crucial and is enforceable as a legal right. Even private parties have to ensure that ‘reasonable accommodation’ measures are taken in order to enable greater accessibility for the hearing and visually impaired persons. Though accessibility in the case of Rajive Raturi (supra) is in the context of access to buildings, transportation etc., accessibility to information, technology and entertainment, is equally important. A hearing or visually impaired person, may get easy physical access to a film theatre but may not be able to enjoy the film at all, if the measures to make it enjoyable are not taken by the other stakeholders, including producers, theatre managers, OTT platforms, etc. The State has an obligation to ensure that all steps, that are reasonably possible, are taken in this direction.
Interim Directions:
19.	Thus, in the interim, it is directed as under:
a.	Insofar as the theatrical release of the film ‘Pathaan’ is concerned, since the said film is slated for release on 25th January, 2023, no directions are being passed. 
b.	However, insofar as the release of the film ‘Pathaan’ on the Respondent No.4’s ‘Amazon’ OTT platform is concerned, the following directions are issued:
i.	The Respondent No.1 - Producer shall prepare the audio description, the subtitles in the Hindi language, as also, the closed captions in both English and Hindi languages, and submit that same to the CBFC for approval, by 20th February, 2023.
ii.	Upon the same being submitted, the CBFC shall consider the re-certification of the film ‘Pathaan’, along with the audio description, the subtitles in the Hindi language, and the closed captions in both English and Hindi languages. 
iii.	CBFC shall take a decision on re-certification of the said film by 10th March, 2023. 
c.	If the Respondent No.1 - Producer wishes to enable greater accessibility for the film ‘Pathaan’, in theatres, it may contact the operators of the mobile applications ‘XL Cinema’ and ‘Shazacin’, or other similar applications, if any, to explore the possibility of providing audio description, subtitles, and closed captions.
d.	Insofar as the issue of having an overall and holistic solution to the questions raised in the present petition is concerned, it is deemed appropriate to implead the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) as Respondent No.5 in the present petition. In addition, the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) shall also be impleaded in this matter as Respondent No.6.  Issue notice to the newly impleaded Respondent Nos.5 and 6, without payment of process fee, through the following particulars: 
Respondent No.5:
Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF)
Address: C-301, C-302 & C-303, Ansal Plaza, Third Floor,
Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi - 110 049, India.
Mobile No.:  +91 11 4379 4400, Email: 
Respondent No.6:
Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA)
Address: G-1 to 7, Crescent Tower, Off New Link Road 
Oshiwara, Nr. Dhiraj Gaurav Heights, Andheri West Mumbai, 
Mumbai City, MH 400053 
Phone No.: 022 62390666 / 022 62390777 / 022 62390888
Mobile No.: 8879031147 / 771507277       
e.	Considering the nature of the reliefs sought in this matter, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is also impleaded as Respondent No.2(a). Mr. Farman Ali, ld. Counsel accepts notice on behalf of Respondent Nos. 2(a) as well. 

20. Let an amended memo of parties be filed on behalf of the Petitioners, within one week. Upon the amended memo of parties being filed, let the Registry serve notice to Respondent Nos.4, 5 and 6.

21. Let a status report be placed on record in respect of the directions issued above and in response to the writ petition, by Mr. Ali, ld. Counsel for Respondent Nos.2, 2(a) and 3, by the next date of hearing.

22. Let the counter affidavit be filed by Respondent No.1 - Yash Raj Films, within four weeks. Upon the service of notice by the Registry, the Respondent Nos.4, 5 and 6 shall also file their counter affidavits placing their stand before this Court, on or before 28th February, 2023. Rejoinders thereto, if any, be filed by the Petitioners, by 15th March, 2023.

23. List on 6th April, 2023, on top of the board in the advance list, for receiving the status report on behalf of the Respondent Nos.2, 2(a) and 3 - Union of India, as also, counter affidavits on behalf of Respondent Nos.1, 4, 5 and 6.

JANUARY 16, 2023