Dr. Ajith C.S. Perera v. Attorney General and Others

S.C. (FR) No. 221/2009
Download Judgment: English
Country: Sri Lanka
Region: Asia
Year: 2011
Court: Supreme Court
Health Topics: Disabilities
Human Rights: Freedom from discrimination
Tags: Disabled, Handicapped, Physically challenged

This case was filed by the Secretary General of IDIRIYA, Dr. Ajith C.S. Perera. IDIRIYA is a non- profit organization advocating for disability-related access issues. The Act for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, No. 28 of 1996, together with the Disabled Persons (Accessibility) Regulations, No.1 of 2006, specify the manner in which public buildings and facilities are to be constructed to make them accessible for people with disabilities. However, there were no effective mechanisms in place to implement the laws relating to accessibility.

This case was filed to clarify the order on accessibility issued by the courts in 2009, which required all new public buildings be designed in an inclusive manner and imposed penalties for violators.

The Court ordered several measures to be incorporated in the design and construction of public buildings, to make them safe and accessible to persons with restricted mobility.

The Court recognized the different degrees in which a person’s free movement may be restricted, as in the case of pregnant mothers, senior citizens and with persons with disabilities. It further recognized the protection guaranteed by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, No.28 of 1996, as amended, and the regulations made thereunder, which ensure that no person shall be discriminated on the ground of disability.  The Court stated that all persons are equally entitled to an inherent right for access, safety, and accommodation to buildings and facilities provided therein.

The court ordered that all new public buildings and public places, especially toilets and wash facilities, be designed according to the design requirements specified in the Accessibility Regulation No. 01 of 2006.

The Court further stated that compliance with the Court order should be made mandatory to gain building approval, and that non-compliance with the order should be made a punishable offence.

 

“This court recognizes that people have different levels of ability to move freely, and that many-specially, the growing number of Seniors, Disabled Persons and Pregnant Mothers-are restricted in their movement”. S.C.F.R. No. 221/2009, p.1

“This Court further recognizes that in terms of the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act No.28 of 1996, as amended, and the regulations made there under, no person should be discriminated against on the ground of disability and their mobility restricted in a manner which precludes or impedes them from enjoying equally their inherent right for access, safety and accommodation in day-to-day life at man-made public buildings, public places and facilities provided there”. S.C.F.R. No. 221/2009, p.2

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