HC raps Maharashtra govt over vacant posts in advisory board for disabled persons

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Mumbai, Jul 10 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Maharashtra government over its "apathy" towards filling up vacancies in the state advisory board for policies related to disabled persons, making it non-functional since the last four years.

A division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice Amit Borkar directed the additional chief secretary/ principal secretary of the state Persons with Disabilities Welfare Department to inform by when the board vacancies would be filled up and it would become fully functional.

The court warned that if clear information is not given on Thursday (July 11) in this regard, then it would be constrained to summon the authority concerned.

The HC said the board discharges certain vital functions and hence immediate steps ought to have been taken by the state government to make it functional.

"We notice with grave concern that till date the vacancies in the board have not be filled in. The apathy shown by the state government in filing up the vacancies in the board cannot be appreciated," the bench said.

The board was to be constituted under provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.

The court emphasised the advisory board is mandated by the Act of Parliament to perform certain functions for persons with disabilities and it was the state's duty to make it functional.

It was hearing a public interest litigation taken up suo motu (on its own) on the issue of bollards put up on footpaths in Mumbai, thus making them inaccessible to persons with disabilities.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), pursuant to court orders, started removing the bollards which were causing hindrance to persons with disabilities to access footpaths.

Advocate Jamshed Mistry, appointed by the court to assist it on the issue, on Wednesday submitted some photographs showing that bollards on certain footpaths still remain, causing issues to disabled persons especially those who are wheelchair-bound.

The bench perused the photographs and questioned the BMC.

"How can anyone in this world be so insensitive? These bollards are put for their benefit but see what is happening. You say it has been removed but it shouldn't have come to this at all," CJ Upadhyaya said.

BMC's counsel Anil Singh even the bollards seen in the photographs have been removed.

The bench directed the corporation to file an affidavit giving details of the number of bollards removed by it so far. PTI SP GK