The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response of the AAP government on a PIL which alleged that a 12-year-old blind girl died recently for want of foodgrains, medicines and financial help, all of which were denied to her as she did not have an updated Aadhaar card which required a retina scan.
The girl died on July 1 at Swamy Dayanand Hospital at Shahdara where she was rushed following a seizure.
Taking note of the facts, a Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Delhi government and sought its stand by July 14.
The Bench asked the Delhi Government to come with a solution to the grievances raised in the petition by Saurabh Singh, a disaster management expert by profession and social activist, who said during the lockdown and the relaxed period thereafter, the persons with disabilities, have been unable to access the food centres nor have they been able to avail any help in terms of ration or financial help.
Advocate Kabir Ghosh, appearing for Singh, told the Bench that the instant petition was first sought to be urgently heard on June 30, but the request was denied and subsequently, on July 1 afternoon the girl died.
The petition has contended there are several such disabled persons in the national capital who have not received any succour as they do not have ration cards or disability certificates.
It has also alleged that even persons with disability certificates have been denied their disability pension.
Singh has contended that while the Delhi government is running a scheme of disability pension, “the same is not released on time and further, many disabled persons have been unable to seek benefit of the same as their applications are pending“.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic threatens all members of the society, persons with disabilities are disproportionately impacted due to the attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers that they face. Most persons have been unable to access helplines.
“Moreover, there is no dedicated helpline for persons with disabilities which even makes it harder for such persons, more so persons who are deaf or and of hearing, to access any benefit,” the petition has said.
It has sought directions to the Delhi government to provide financial support, like unemployment allowance and increase in ex-gratia cash transfer, set up dedicated helplines for disabled persons to access benefits, provide healthcare and ensure access to essentials such as food, water and medicine to persons with disabilities (PWD).
The plea has also sought a dedicated policy for PWD keeping in mind the pressing issues being faced by them during the COVID-19 pandemic and release of all pending payments under the scheme meant for disabled persons to all eligible beneficiaries and to clear all pending applications under the PWD Pension Scheme in an expeditious and time bound manner.