The Kerala High Court directed the Kochi Corporation and PWD to make necessary arrangements in the footpaths and roads for differently abled persons in the case of Dr. P. A. Mary Anitha v. Corporation of Kochi
By: Megha Ravindran B.BA LL.B Nehru Academy of Law
Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly directed the Corporation and PWD to maintain and repair the roads and footpaths and make arrangements within three months as to enable suitable access for the differently abled persons.
Brief of the case
Dr. P. A. Mary Anitha filed a PIL. She is the Chairperson of an NGO known as Centre for Empowerment and Enrichment (CEFEE).
The PIL was filed against the poor maintenance of the footpaths and the roads which is due to the unscientific nature of constructions carried out and the poor and timely maintenance which causes great difficulties to the differently abled persons.
Observation of the court
The bench remarked that under Article 21 of the Constitution, the differently abled persons are entitled to enjoy the right of life and liberty like any other citizen in India.
After referring to the provisions of Kerala Municipality Act, 1944, the Court observed that “They are also entitled to enjoy the other fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens under the Constitution to the extent possible for them. That apart, the State has a duty as per the directive principles of state policy under Part 1V of the Constitution to secure a social order for W.P.(C) No. 24850/2018 : 13 : the promotion of welfare of the people, which includes the special and essential requirements of the differently abled citizens and therefore, it is the inevitable function of the State and the local bodies to look after the affairs of the differently abled citizens also. Which thus means, any failure on the part of the State Government or the authority concerned to discharge such duties can only be viewed as a serious and unpardonable lapse justifying a writ court to step in to issue necessary directions. Now, after the introduction of Part 1XA to the Constitution of India dealing with Municipalities on and with effect from 01-06- 1993, the Municipalities are liable to discharge such functions entrusted with them there under.“