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A Writ Petition seeking special facilities for people with disabilities to enable them to vote: Disabled Rights Group vs. Chief Election Commissioner & Another

Date : 16/07/2010

This Writ Petition concerns people with disabilities who find that they are unable to vote in elections due to problems of access and the lack of necessary facilities. A letter written by an NGO “Disabled Rights Group” to the Hon’ble Supreme Court and this was registered as a Writ Petition in the public interest.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court responded positively advising that special provision be made and indicating ways in which the recommendations be effectively implemented.

A letter written by an NGO “Disabled Rights Group” to the Hon’ble Supreme Court listed the grievances that prevented people with disabilities from casting their vote in elections. This letter was registered as a Writ Petition in the public interest.

The Petitioner requested facilities like:-

• wooden ramps at polling stations;
• Braille facilities offered in the electronic voting machines;
• separate queues and special arrangements at polling stations; and
• polling station personnel to be courteous and offer the necessary assistance to disabled voters.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court gave detailed directions on this issue. The Chief Secretaries of states, together with their Chief Electoral Officers, should make wooden ramp facilities available at urban polling stations.

In addition the Hon’ble Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to instruct polling station officials on the special facilities required at all polling stations for the physically disabled electorate.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court further directed that this should be done well in advance of any election and that sufficient publicity should be given about the availability of such facilities, both in print and electronic media.

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