Maharashtra: PIL Demands Separate COVID-19 Wards For Those With Blindness, Launch Special Vaccination Drive For Them

Bombay High Court

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Mrunal Jadhav
Pune, 1st June 2021: There should be specially-trained and sensitive doctors and medical staff to serve those living with blindness. They should have separate COVID-19 wards as they need to get obstruction-free services due to lack of vision, states public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay High Court.

Ajit Kulkarni, Cofounder of Anam-Prem Sanstha and Swagat Thorat, also known as Braille Man of India, have filed a petition through advocates Asim Sarode, Purva Bora, Ajit Kulkarni and Ajinkya Udane. The State government, State disability commissioner, Social Justice Department and Health Ministry have been named as defendants in the petition.

The petition states that there should be special COVID-19 wards with easy access for blind people and there should be separate and reserved beds in all places like district government hospitals, rural hospitals, and primary health centres.

“Rs 1,000 per month assistance from the Sanjay Gandhi Yojana is insufficient for those living with blindness. It should be increased to Rs 5,000 per month,” the petition states.

Unfortunately, the government does not have any statistics on the number of people living with blindness who have been infected with the COVID-19 or who have died due to the virus. The Disability Commissionerate is required to collect this information.

Thorat said that the educational loss of children living with blindness during the COVID-19 period was irreparable. “As the government has a constitutional responsibility to take positive steps to protect the basic right of the blind to live with equality, it is the responsibility of government agencies to provide equal dignity and facilities to those living with disabilities,” he said.

Ajit Kulkarni said that the petition was filed for the health rights of the people living with blindness as the blind have different issues.

A bench of justice Deepankar Dutta and justice Girish Kulkarni will hear the PIL on June 2.