The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Attorney General to follow-up with the Ministry of Social Services to ensure the circular MSSS/7/8/ACC dated October 4, 2012 issued by the Ministry Secretary concerning the establishment of accessibility facilities at public buildings should also cover the Private Sector buildings and thereby should be sent to them as well.
The Bench comprised Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, Justices Chandra Ekanayake and Sathya Hettige
This ministry circular the gazetted accessibility regulations and the cabinet paper of April 16, 2009 notifies only the Secretaries of the Government Ministries, District Secretaries and chief Secretaries of the provincial councils.
The Court made this order in hearing a Public Interest Litigation Fundamental Rights Application filed by accessibility activist Dr. Ajith C.S. Perera.
He said at a time when an estimated 25% of Sri Lanka’s population due to numerous debilitating conditions have their mobility restricted and their immediate families affected, in the larger interest of day-to-day life of a wide range of people needing to access public buildings and furthermore to optimise the benefits of the development programmes of the government and the meaningful realisation of Mahinda Chintana idiri dakma, to get these three areas also recognised by the Supreme Court and included into these already given court orders becomes vital.
The petitioner pointed out that this circular had been sent nine months ago and as indicated in this circular itself and rightly pointed out by the National Council for the disabled people where he too was a member, hardly anything had happened concerning the accessibility at public buildings.
The Court recognised and appreciated the untiring efforts taken over a long period of time by Dr. Perera in promoting and establishing accessibility facilities complying with the design standards in the greater interest of the country and all people.
Deputy Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appeared for the Attorney General.(S.S. Selvanayagam)