A division bench comprising Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Sathikumar Sukumara Kurup issued the direction to file response by October 20.
The petition was moved by Vaishnavi Jayakumar, the co-founder of the Banyan, an NGO that works for the upliftment of the marginalised and oppressed people.
The draft Harmonised guidelines and standards for universal accessibility in India, 2021, published by the Union government was not given wide publicity, the petitioner submitted, adding that it was available only in English and was inaccessible to persons with disabilities on account of being non-screen reader compatible. “It is essential to publish the draft guidelines in an accessible form in vernacular languages, give wide publicity, call for comments and hold consultations before issuing the final guidelines,” she said.
The petitioner also stated the draft should be widely published in all language newspapers for one month to seek feedback from disabled people, who were the best judges of what their needs are in terms of infrastructure, product design, accommodation and services. Also, the printed form of the draft should be made available in taluk level offices, she added.
After the Centre sought time to file counter, the bench allowed it to file it on October 20 and posted the matter to that date.
The bench pointed out the initiatives taken by the HC to ensure easy accessibility for all in the new buildings inside the court. Separate toilets have been built for disabled and transgender persons, as it is very necessary, the bench observed.