Election panel to ensure handicapped-friendly polling booths

April 10th, 2009 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, April 10 (IANS) The Election Commission will ensure that polling booths in the Lok Sabha elections have facilities for the blind and other handicapped people, a senior official said here.
Disability Activists Forum (DAF) - comprising Human Rights Law Network, Ankur Advocacy Group and other voluntary organisations - recently met West Bengal’s joint state chief electoral officer N.K. Sahana and asked for proper arrangements for the disabled so that they can cast their votes in the April-May elections.

“We’ll try to provide adequate arrangements for the disabled voters at all the booths across the state in the coming polls. There will be Braille-compliant EVMs (electronic voting machines), Braille ballot papers, ramp arrangements for wheelchairs at all the booths,” Sahana told IANS Thursday evening.

He said there will be 66,109 booths across the state in the elections.

Jija Ghosh, 35, a cerebral palsy patient, said: “With India becoming a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) in 2007, the state is legally bound to make the voting process accessible to us.”

Another physically challenged voter Kuhu Das, 42, said that apart from UNCRPD, there’s the Supreme Court order of 2004, asking all states to ensure that physically challenged persons can exercise their franchise properly.

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