India’s deaf may get licence to driveNovember 9th, 2009 - 3:58 pm ICT by IANS
By Kanu Sarda
New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) India is one of the few countries in the world where the hearing impaired are not allowed to drive. But this may change soon, with the government informing the Delhi High Court it is considering changing its rules.
“We are considering issuing driving licences to hearing impaired people and thinking of amending our rules and regulations,” Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandiok informed a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar.
The court has granted the government three months’ time to take a decision and posted the matter for Dec 16.
At present, the Motor Vehicles Act prohibits the deaf from obtaining a driver’s licence on the ground that they could be a source of danger to the public. There are around 50 million hearing impaired in India.
The court was hearing a public interest petition by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), seeking a direction to quash the requirement of having no hearing impairment for the issuance of a driving licence.
According to the NAD, the deaf are allowed to drive all over the world except in 26 countries including India.
“The only reason why India is not willing to issue licences is that Indian vehicles lack the special gadgets that other countries’ vehicles have. But we are considering the same and hoping that we will be able to amend some rules,” Chandiok informed the bench.
According to medical experts, those who can hear up to 60 decibels with the use of a hearing aid can be permitted to hold a driving licence for private vehicles, while those with a hearing level of up to 40 decibels with hearing aid can be allowed to drive commercial vehicles.
According to the petitioner, even the Delhi Police website indicates that deaf people can drive and states, “There is no reason why a deaf person cannot drive a private motorcar. However, the possibility of additional rear vision mirrors may need to be considered.”
(Kanu Sarda can be contacted at email@example.com)
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