Chennai: The Madras high court on Friday directed the state government to ensure a topic on disabilities and the rights of persons with disabilities as also the value of tolerance, empathy and respect for the differently-abled, is included in the curriculum in all schools for the next academic year. Passing interim orders on a PIL from L. Muruganandam of Tirupur district, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M. Sundar said, “In schools, colleges and universities, facilities shall be provided from the next academic year of counselling and if necessary psychiatric and/or specialised/expert assistance”.
“The state government shall ensure that the differently-abled have equal access to education. Admission in an educational institution shall be ensured in respect of differently-abled to not only to special educational institutions for the differently abled, but also to some educational institutions for general students so that the differently abled children can mingle with and be brought up along with the other general students”, the bench added. The bench said the state government shall immediately in consultation with the Chief Commissioner or the State Commissioner and in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority and District Legal Services Authority, conduct awareness campaigns and sensitisation programmes for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. Programmes and campaigns shall inter-alia, be directed to promote tolerance, empathy and respect for the differently abled, the bench added.
The bench said they shall also regularly conduct orientation and sensitisation programme at schools, colleges, professional institutions, etc., on disability and the rights of persons with disabilities, with a view to promoting respect, empathy and tolerance for the differently abled. Similarly, they shall also conduct orientation and sensitisation programmes for employers and administrators on disabilities, the rights of the disabled, with a view to encourage employment and equal participation of the differently abled in the field of work and to promote respect, empathy and tolerance towards the differently abled, the bench added. Posting to December 4, further hearing of the case, the bench said status report be filed with regard to the steps taken for implementation of the orders. In his petition, Muruganandam sought a direction to the Union and state governments to make all the buildings and campuses and all the facilities in all the educational institutions within the state of TN completely accessible to differently abled persons.