HC asks Maharashtra govt about steps taken to telecast educational programmes for disabled students

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Mumbai, Jul 9 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought to know from the Maharashtra government the steps it has taken to implement its decision to strengthen education for disabled persons by broadcasting programmes with sign language interpreters.

A division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice Amit Borkar asked the Centre about how the state government's decision could be implemented.

In 2021, the state government had, to strengthen education for disabled students, taken decisions like reserving time slots for educational broadcasting provided by Doordarshan and Aakashvani.

The school education and sports department was to facilitate this initiative with the help of sign language interpreters, and the programmes were to be broadcast on the DD Sahyadri channel for two hours, in the morning and evening.

The programmes were to include video clips featuring sign language interpreters, making them accessible to disabled students.

In an affidavit filed in February 2022, the state contended that it did not have the required budget of Rs 4 crore.

The government further stated that a television telecast would mean that if students miss the programme, they cannot watch it again, and hence, a better option would be to upload videos on YouTube.

However, no funds are available to prepare such educational programmes for YouTube, it claimed.

The bench directed the state government to file a fresh affidavit, stating steps it has taken to implement the decisions.

"The Central government shall also file an affidavit as to how the decision taken by the state government can be implemented," the court said.

The affidavits will have to be filed in six weeks.

The court passed the direction while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO 'Anamprem', raising concerns over problems being faced by students with disabilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NGO sought a direction to the Centre and state governments to implement the Right to Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016. PTI SP ARU