The Delhi High Court has directed Delhi Government to make arrangements for providing the court documents in a readable language (Braille script) to the visually impaired litigants in all cases wherever the circumstances so warrant.
A bench of Single-Judge Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta said that the right to access to justice included the right to receive documents in a language and means of communication preferred by the parties involved while dealing with a plea of anticipatory bail filed by a visually impaired rape accused.
“On a clear reading of Section 12 of the RPwD Act, 2016 it can be seen that a positive duty has been cast upon the appropriate government under sub-section 4 to ensure that all public documents are in accessible formats. Further, it is mandated to make available all necessary facilities and equipment to facilitate recording of testimonies, arguments or opinion given by persons with disabilities in their preferred language and means of communication.”
It is alleged that both the accused appellant and the complainant in the case were visually impaired and were in a relationship in 2018. The accused-appellant had got a job in State Bank of India in 2019 and rented an accommodation in GTB Nagar.
The appellant called the complainant at his rented accommodation and asked her to stay after that he tried to forcefully have sex with her. Thereafter, he put vermillion (sindoor) on the forehead of the complainant and established physical relations with her on the assurance of marriage.
The court gave bail to the accused after noting the facts of the case. However, the complainant requested the court to provide her a copy of the order in Braille Script. The court noted that both the parties are entitled to be well versed with the proceedings of the litigation.
Justice Mendiratta noted that Section 12 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPwD Act) creates a mandate on the State for providing access to Justice to the differently abled.
“The State is directed to make suitable arrangements and provide the prosecutrix as well as the petitioner the copy of the documents to which they are legally entitled in their preferred language and means of communication ie Braille script to ensure that they can effectively pursue and protect their legal rights. The state government is also directed to make necessary arrangements for providing court documents in a readable language to the visually impaired in all such cases wherever the circumstances so warrant and information be suitably disseminated to bring it to notice of all concerned.”
The court also asked to send the copy of the order to the learned trial court, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, Chief Secretary Government of NCT of Delhi and Registry for necessary compliance.