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Disabled people win big, Supreme Court backs rights at airports | India News

KOLKATA: People with disabilities should not be forced to remove their prostheses or stirrups during security checks at airports, or lift them manually without consent, the Supreme Court ruled after the final hearing in a case filed by the Kolkata-based activist Jeeja Ghosh. He also said that security checks should be carried out without violating the dignity of the person.
Jeeja, whose cerebral palsy was never a hindrance to her while traveling alone around the world, was forcibly disembarked from a flight to Calcutta in February 2012 after the crew decided she did not was not fit to travel alone.
She had sued the airline, which led to a landmark judgment in May 2016, in which the SC highlighted two important rights of travelers with disabilities: accessibility and reasonable accommodation. The airline had to pay Rs10 lakh as damages for the mental and physical suffering caused to Jeeja.
This ruling has led airlines to ask their staff to be more sensitive to people with disabilities. Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs), 2008, on air transport of persons with disabilities were revised, ensuring that persons with disabilities were treated equally, standard wheelchairs were available at airports, SOPs and a training on how to embark / disembark such persons.
In February 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the DGAC to consider the suggestions submitted by the petitioner in order to make other appropriate changes to the CAR guidelines. When the DGAC presented the new project on July 2, 2021, lead lawyer Colin Gonsalves, representing the petitioner, raised several objections. Following this, the SC asked the petitioner to submit the suggestions within 30 days.
When removing the petition on Wednesday, the SC bench observed that no disabled person should be manually lifted without consent, calling the act inhumane; and airport security checks should be carried out in such a way that no one is forced to remove the prosthesis.
Although the draft CAR directive mentions the digitization of prostheses / calipers using a full body scanner, airport security continues to require people wearing prostheses to remove their pants or shirts to carry out checks. . In October, actress Sudha Chandran uploaded a video to Instagram and tagged Prime Minister Modi about her ordeal of asking her to remove her artificial limb every time she passed through airport security. The incident took place at Bombay airport. The CISF tweeted an apology the next day.


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