Litigant with disability complains of unpleasant experience in accessing wheelchair at Madras High Court – The Hindu

Chennai News

P. Kavitha, who has a mobility impairment on both her lower limbs, entered the Madras High Court campus on Monday with the aid of a pair of crutches. She thought that commuting inside the court buildings might not be an issue but her hopes were dashed when even getting a wheelchair turned out to be a nightmarish experience.

A resident of a night shelter at Royapettah in Chennai, she had come to the court to follow a case filed by her in favour of plying low-floor government buses. After obtaining a visitor’s pass at a counter near the B.R. Ambedkar statue in the campus, she asked for a wheelchair to enter the court buildings guarded by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

The staff at the counter told her the wheelchair would be available only inside the court building. A little disappointed, the woman, however, managed to cross the CISF frisking point with the assistance of her night shelter administrator and reached the overseer’s room near the judges’ entrance to the court building.

“That entrance had only stairs and no ramp. Therefore, I couldn’t go in. Madam (night shelter administrator) alone went inside and asked for the wheelchair but the staff over there took her original Aadhaar card as a surety. After that, I was taken in a wheelchair through another entrance which had a steep concrete ramp,” she lamented.

Even inside the court buildings there were no signs to indicate the availability of elevators to reach the first floor. Yet, she managed to find it. “After the hearing in our case got over, we returned the wheelchair in order to get back her Aadhaar card but again we faced difficulties because the stairs near the overseer’s room did not have a ramp,” she said.

Ms. Kavitha suggested that the High Court administration make a wheelchair available at every CISF frisking point that leads to the court buildings and ensure that the users leave them behind while leaving. “Such a mechanism would be of great help to persons with disabilities,” she added.