Jammu & Kashmir

Use respectful words while referring to persons with disabilities, record statements at home: JK HC

High Court of JK and Ladakh in Srinagar. [FPK Photo/ Umar Farooq]

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has passed directions upon the Government of India and the administration of JK to treat the specially-abled persons properly by referring to them in a respectful language recognised internationally. The court also passed directions to ensure that requisite facilities are provided and developed in tune with the convenience of these specially-abled citizens, for recording statements, and appearing in courts.

The court showing it’s indulgence in Public Interest Litigation (PIL), expressed hope that the “administration will take effective steps to ensure the statements of specially-abled persons are recorded at their place of convenience/residence if they become victims of any offence”.

The bench comprising of Chief Justice (former) Ali Mohammad Magray and Justice Rahul Bhartia was hearing a PIL seeking the adoption of disability-inclusive language and infrastructure across JK Courts.

The directions came after petitioner Badar u Duja, in the PIL, stressed ‘weeding out of offensive words and replacing them with respectful alternative words in line with United Nations Disability Inclusive language guidelines’. The PIL pointed out the offensive vocabulary used for specially-abled persons in legal pleadings, government circulars, notifications, court orders, and daily discussions.

The petitioner has also contended that the Trial and District Courts across JK do not have disable-friendly infrastructure making courts “inaccessible or barely accessible to specially-abled persons”.

Serious prejudice is caused to the rights of specially-abled persons, the petitioner contends while referring to information acquired from district courts through RTI, that shows the Courts mostly functioning on the 1st/2nd floor, have no lifts or ramps for specially-abled persons.


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