The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea to set aside the Indian Railway's decision to issue separate ID cards to disabled persons for availing concession-based ticketing instead of the government-issued Unique Disability Identity (UDID) Card. A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambani issued a notice to the ministries of Railway and Social Justice seeking their stand on the PIL by an NGO, which has sought directions to the Railways to validate the UDID cards.
The UDID cards are issued by the Ministry of Social Justice under the mandate of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016, for concession-based ticketing. NGO National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), in its plea, has contended that the RPWD Act, 2016, overrides the circular of 2015 issued by the Railway Ministry, but the Indian Railways was still going ahead with the issuance of separate identity cards for disabled persons seeking to avail railway concession.
"That RPWD Act, 2016 overrides the commercial circular No. 18 of 2015 issued by Railway Ministry but Indian Railways is still going ahead with the issuance of separate identity cards for disabled persons desirous of availing railway concession, disregarding the enormous difficulties including access that the disabled encounter while trying to procure such a separate card," the plea has said.
It has also said the circular of the Railway Ministry was not only violative of Article 14 of the Constitution but also impairs and impinges all other fundamental rights of the disabled and creates barrier in the enjoyment of amenities of life by the disabled.
The plea further said that the UDID cards issued by the Ministry of Social Justice under the RPWD Act, 2016, was valid for all purposes, including availing railway concessions. The petition has said the idea behind issuance of UDID cards was to "encourage transparency, efficiency and ease of delivering the government benefits to the person with disabilities" and also "ensure uniformity".
(With inputs from agencies.)