Barrierfree Maharashtra visited the Pune ( Shivajinagar ) District Court premises to find details regarding the much publicised ” First special.court for persons with disabilities ” in Maharashtra.
POSITIVES : Most of the buildings in the district court premises have been retrofitted with ramps, tactile floor surface indicators, braile and multilingual signage, accessible toilets, railings under Accessible.India Campaign. Ramps were being used by mostly ALL people, not just senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
NEGATIVES : However, the accessible toilets were in locked condition, parking slots for persons with disabilities were occupied by only one modified two wheeler used by a person with disability and other two slots being used by court vehicles.
Upon enquiry with the concerned office in the court, we were informed that court room.no 8 has been designated as special court for handling existing cases related to senior citizens and persons with disabilities, but there was a general lack of awareness and clarity regarding the procedure for filing and handling of cases under RPWD Act 2016. Sec 84 of the RPWD Act 2016 clearly states that ” For the purpose of providing speedy trial, the State Government shall, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court, by notification, specify for each district, a court of Session to be a Special Court to try the offences under this Act”.
Sec 85 (1) says ” For every Special Court, the State Government may, by notification, specify a public prosecutor or appoint an advocate who has been in practice as an advocate for not less than 7 years, as a
Special Public Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting cases in that Court.
BARRIERFREE MAHARASHTRA QUERIES :
1. Who is responsible to ensure that the facilities provided for persons with disabilities after the premises has been handed over to the user department, are reserved and used ONLY by persons with disabilities ?
2. Has Maharashtra State Government specified by notification a Special Public Prosecutor or advocate in this Special Court, for the purposes of conducting cases in this court?
3. How is the Maharashtra State Government planning to increase the awareness levels amongst court officials, legal community and general public about the roles and responsibilities, jurisdiction and processes involved in dealing with offences committed under RPWD Act 2016 in such special courts ?