The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, issued the warning based on a plea that the Tamil Nadu government had issued a GO for procuring as many as 2,213 buses with a mere allocation of 10 per cent being made access friendly buses, contrary to a High Court order in 2016 categorically holding that all new buses to be procured by the State ought to have ease of access to the differently-abled.
Directing the Tamil Nadu Government to file a status report in three weeks, indicating remedial measures undertaken to ensure that government buses are diff-abled friendly, the Chief Justice said: “It appears that you (State) are in breach.”“The authorities are reminded that the policy requires all new buses being procured to be diff-abled friendly and it will not suffice to only have a percentage of the number of buses to be acquired being diff-abled friendly,” the bench held.
It also noted that if the government proceeds with the purchase of buses contrary to the directions and policies in this regard, then we have to undo that.
Appearing for petitioner Vaishnavi Jayakumar, advocate A Yogeshwaran submitted that HC had made it clear in 2016 itself that buses plying in every route ought to be diff-abled friendly and there cannot be select buses routes in which such buses are plied.
But contrary to this, the State continues to procure only a percentage of such buses, resulting in reduced mobility of the differently-abled.
The amicus in the case, advocate P Mohan submitted that despite several attempts to impress upon the State transport corporation authorities on the need for protecting the rights of the diff-abled and the court direction in this regard, the State since 2016 had procured over 4,000 buses, with none of them being diff-abled friendly.