ANI Photo | Delhi HC orders to provide special facilities in courts to ensure actual access to justice for accused suffering from disabilities

The Delhi High Court has ordered the Government of NCT of Delhi to provide infrastructure and financial assistance for procuring essential electronic gadgets for the purpose of conducting trials where the accused has special needs so that he or she can participate equally in the judicial proceedings with the assistance of such assistive technology.
The installation of such gadgets and infrastructure will ensure that such persons with disabilities will be able to better understand and meaningfully participate in the judicial proceedings, whether criminal or civil, said Delhi High Court.
The bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma in an order passed on August 24, 2023, stated, “There is a need to acknowledge that persons with disabilities do not need pity or patronization based on stereotypical false assumption that they are less capable and valuable compared with persons without disabilities.”
The Judgement was passed by the Court on a petition moved by Rakesh Kumar Kalra Deaf Divayang seeking directions to constitute a Special Court as per Section 84 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and to make arrangements for the petitioner during the
criminal trial which he is facing.
The court further said that the Delhi State Legal Services Authority will prepare a comprehensive scheme including the mode and manner in which accused persons with disabilities will be able to access justice by addressing the issues raised before this court and guidelines laid down with regard to accused persons with disabilities who are not necessarily victims under the Act with dignity and equality.
The Court further added that the Secretary, DSLSA will also formulate a scheme for the benefit of accused persons with disabilities for their communication and a better understanding of their cases and proceedings before the Court by acquiring the latest assistive technology.
In this regard, they will consult the necessary stakeholders and will furnish such a list and scheme within one month to this Court as well as to the Secretary, Department of Law, Justice and Legislative Affairs, Government of NCT of Delhi for the execution of this noble purpose, added the court.
Further, the Registrar General of this Court will explore the possibility of availability of a room on the lines of a vulnerable witness room, for accused persons with disabilities who are unable to access the Courts and the justice system with equality and dignity, due to impediment of their disability and shall also consider making interim arrangements in this regard, stated the Court.
To increase awareness among the public at large and to inform them about the availability of resources to ensure accessibility to justice to accused persons with disabilities, a Nodal Officer or any such person who can be contacted in this regard be appointed by the concerned District Judge and the phone number of the said official/person be mentioned on the website of every District Court as well as this Court.
The Delhi Judicial Academy will hold a programme for the Trial Court Judges, lawyers, court staff and police for sensitization and information about the availability of services for persons with disabilities in the Court premises and how and when they can be made available. A training module by the Academy be also prepared for educating and training the Court staff and the Nodal Officer in this regard, added the Court

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