Plea in High Court claims railways not accepting UDID cards
Disability rights group says railways issuing separate IDs to differently abled for concession on tickets
A disability rights group has dragged the Indian Railways to the Delhi High Court claiming it was not accepting the Unique Disability Identity Card (UDID), issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, for availing of concession on tickets.
National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), in a petition filed in public interest litigation (PIL) before the High Court, has alleged that the Indian Railways was issuing separate ID cards to differently abled persons for availing of concession.
The plea said the Railways’ decision on a separate ID card was not only violative of Article 14 of the Constitution but also impair and impinges all other fundamental rights of the differently abled. “It restricts and creates a barrier in the enjoyment of amities of life by the disabled,” the plea said.
Advocate Subhash Chandran K.R., representing NPRD, said the Railways’ disability ID card was in conflict with UDID issued under the auspices of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
‘Unique ID for Persons with Disabilities’ project was implemented with a view of creating a National Database for Persons with Disabilities, and to issue a UDID to each differently abled person.
The objective of this project is to enable the Persons with Disabilities to obtain the new UDID card to avail schemes and benefits provided by the government through its various Ministries and their Departments.
This card is valid pan-India.
Mr. Chandran said before UDID, the differently abled were compelled to procure separate certificates/cards for each specific entitlement or benefit under different schemes of the government.
He argued that for identification as a differently abled person, one needed to procure a disability certificate from a designated hospital, and for availing railway concession a separate certificate from a hospital authorised by the railways had to be obtained.
Earlier, several agencies and departments insisted on their own formats and certificates. Even Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) applicants had to get a different type of certificate.
Given the multitude of problems the differently abled persons face on account of having them to procure a multiple number of certificates, NPRD had demanded the introduction of a disability card that would be valid for all purposes, across states, departments, and boards.
“The UDID became a reality after persistent efforts and years of advocacy,” the petition said.
It contended that the Indian Railways is responsible for discriminating against persons with disabilities by not accepting the UDID cards.
Source : The Hindu