The Delhi High Court Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction over steps taken by the Delhi government for helping differently abled persons, saying people with disabilities, orphan children and senior citizens were neglected and there is a need to look after them in the COVID-19 pandemic and gave it three days to come out with the result.
The court, which was informed that there is no helpline for persons with disabilities, said a lot of NGOs are working on the ground for disabled persons and the government should involve them and provide them with funds and the nodal officer should coordinate with these organisations.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said, “as of now it is totally dissatisfactory, absolutely dissatisfactory. Why do you need prodding from us.”
The bench noted the submissions made by advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, representing Bachpan Bachao Andolan, that she had participated in a meeting with the officials of Departments of Health and Family Welfare and Social Welfare on May 13 but little progress has been made on implementation of steps to be taken in the interest of orphan children, disabled persons and senior citizens who are affected by the pandemic.
The bench said it wants to see that whatever steps need to be taken in this regard should be done.
“Senior citizens, children and persons with disabilities are the persons otherwise neglected and we need to look after them in this pandemic. We want you to tell us what the bottlenecks are because we want nothing but the best for them,” it said, adding that the court wants to see results within three days.
On the issue of giving more publicity to helplines, the court was also informed that the Delhi government has taken help of professional anchor Shami Narang and his recording has been done on helpline for children (1098) and senior citizens (14567).
An officer of Delhi government told the court that the recording will be played on municipal corporations’ garbage collection vehicles which go to different colonies and a request in this regard has been sent to MCDs also.
During the hearing, Kaur said an NGO received 30 calls in a day for help and there is not a single helpline number and nothing has happened for persons with disabilities. She said the problems are peculiar to them and simply appointing nodal officer is not going to help.
She said if a person with disabilities has symptoms of the virus and needs help, there is nowhere to go and even the issue their vaccination is pending before another bench of this court.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, said the work is in progress and added that there is agreement on the issues raised but the timelines have to come .
The court said past inactions cannot be discounted and said it will again the take up the issue on Thursday and asked officers of the department to be present in the hearing.