The Tamil Nadu government has ordered the setting up of special courts for differently-abled persons to fast track cases that are pending in other courts of the state.
Following the recently issued government order, the special public prosecutor (human rights) was given the additional charge of handling the cases pertaining to differently-abled persons.
According to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act passed in 2016, the special courts were required to be set up within six months of the passage of the law. However, even after three years, the special courts were yet to become a reality.
Niranjan Mardi, additional chief secretary, had passed a Government Order on May 21, 2019, stating that the government has designated the courts of principal judge, city civil court, Chennai and the principal district court/district court in each judicial district in the state as special courts.
Following this order, on August 28, 2019, Mardi wrote to all district collectors informing that the special public prosecutor (human rights) will handle the cases under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act (2016).
The Commissioner for the Welfare of the Differently Abled designated welfare officers to handle the cases filed under RPWD Act (2016) immediately.Though the activists fighting for the differently-abled welcomed the move, they pointed out other issues concerning the cases related to disabled people.
S Namburajan, state president, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC), said the government should undertake awareness activities for effective utilisation of the special courts.
He also stressed on the need for police to file the cases related to differently-abled under the provisions of RPWD Act.
“Many police officials file the cases only under the general acts. Till date, only a handful of cases have been filed under RPWD Act. IPS officers are not even aware about this act. The government should take necessary steps to sensitise the officials,” he added.