The Supreme Court this week ordered the State to file an affidavit on all action which the Government has taken to facilitate the movements of disabled persons in public places including State buildings.
The directive was given when a fundamental rights petition filed by a professional chartered chemist and an activist for disabled persons, Dr. Ajith C.S. Perera was taken up by the Supreme Court.
The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N Silva, Shirani Thilakawardena and K.Sripavan.
Deputy Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva informed Court that subsequent to the filing of the petition a series of steps have been taken to address the concerns of the disabled persons particularly in respect of gaining access to Government buildings, hotels and in new constructions.
The Court accordingly directed to file an affidavit with all the steps taken and also directed to invite Dr. Perera for the next meeting where they would be discussing the measures to be taken to provide facilities for disabled persons.
Dr. Perera in his petition called for the implementation of the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act No. 28 of 1996 which provides for the rights of persons with disabilities.
He has stated that the National Council for Persons with Disabilities which is responsible for implementing this Act has faced a "practical impasse" due to the lack of an effective mechanism in providing access to disabled persons in the various Ministries, Government Departments and other related Government and State-controlled buildings, including State banks and provincial and local council buildings.
Supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants, auditoriums, public toilets, art galleries, sports stadia and hotels where the public have access have been included in the long list of buildings which have ignored the rights of disabled persons and those with restricted mobility.