ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From Objects of Charity to Subjects with Rights

Empowerment of the Disabled

In the Jeeja Ghosh & Anr v Union of India & Ors (2012) case, which involved a passenger with cerebral palsy who was offloaded from the SpiceJet flight, the Supreme Court has highlighted two important rights of disabled travellers—accessibility and reasonable accommodation. As every country has a statutory as well as international obligation to ensure the right of disabled people to access in transport services, these rights have to be realised prior to the realisation of all other rights.

Persons with mental and physical disabilities face a number of problems while travelling. The wheelchair users and other persons with reduced mobility have to regularly face the issues of accessibility. Accessibility has a direct link to human dignity and right to life of persons with disabilities.

In a commendable path-breaking approach, the Supreme Court has on 12 May 2016 ordered SpiceJet to pay ₹10,00,000 as damages to disabled rights activist Jeeja Ghosh. She had moved the Court for damages after she was offloaded from a Kolkata–Goa SpiceJet flight by the crew, following the captain’s orders that she was unfit to take the five-hour-long flight due to her disability, that is, cerebral palsy.

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Updated On : 24th Feb, 2017

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