Carry out social disability audit in in Vasant Vihar properly: Delhi HC to SDMC
New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Monday asked the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to carry out the social disability audit in a "proper manner" in Vasant Vihar area where the civic body's officials moved on wheelchairs, but with assistance and not independently, to check the usability of footpaths.
It was hearing a matter related to its November 15, 2021 order in which it had said that to ensure the usability the footpaths, SDMC engineers shall traverse the entire colony's footpaths on a wheelchair unaided.
Justice Najmi Waziri observed that every citizen has a right to move around in the area created by the State and asked why the SDMC officials were not moving independently on wheelchairs.
"When they moved around in wheelchairs, did they find it difficult?" the court asked the SDMC counsel, who responded, "No, not at all." To this, the court wondered how they did not find it difficult and also questioned why another person was pushing the wheelchair from behind and the official sitting on the chair was not moving it on his own.
The court said if wheelchair-bound people have to move like this then the SDMC shall have to depute one official each for every such person in the colony so that they can move on these footpaths which are not properly constructed.
It asked the corporation to ensure that the social disability audit is carried out in a "proper manner".
The court asked why ramps built outside several houses were not in level with the standards of SDMC and asked the authorities to remove them so that there are no obstructions to persons on wheelchairs or walkers.
The court also appreciated the efforts of the authorities, including SDMC, PWD and Delhi Police, made in the matter relating to de-concretisation of trees and removing cars parked on footpaths.
"It is heartening to see that all departments have geared up and much progress has been done," it said.
The court also asked the Delhi Police to ensure that cars are not parked on footpaths which are meant for walking. The police then assured the court that needful will be done and a compliance affidavit filed.
It was also informed by the Delhi government counsel that the Public Works Department (PWD) has been regularly watering and washing trees from Modi Mill to the airport on Outer Ring Road and Vasant Vihar residential area and the work of de-concretisation of trees is going on.
He said out of 1,793 trees in Vasant Vihar area, 1,688 have been de-concretised and sought two weeks time to de-concretised the remaining 105 trees and will file a compliance affidavit.
The high court had earlier questioned the SDMC officials for not moving on Vasant Vihar's footpaths on a wheelchair to check their usability and asked "if it was below their dignity to sit on wheelchairs".
It had asked why its November 15, 2021 order in which it had said that to ensure the usability of the footpaths, SDMC engineers shall traverse the entire colony's footpaths on a wheelchair without any aid or assistance from anyone.
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by Bhavreen Kandhari, represented through advocate Aditya N Prasad, alleging that the area around hundreds of trees in Vasant Vihar in South Delhi has been concretised and sought their preservation.