Rights group hails upcoming polls as disabled friendly

March 23rd, 2009 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) Pleased with the special provisions for handicapped to vote in the upcoming general elections, rights groups Monday said the 2009 Lok Sabha polls have been made disabled friendly.
In a Public Interest Litigation before the polls in 2004, Javed Abidi, convenor of the Disabled Rights Group (DRG) wrote to the Chief Justice of India to make the polling process more disabled friendly.

“Four years later, I am very happy that the Election Commission has taken steps to make polling booths more accessible to a disabled person, keeping in mind the Supreme Court guidelines,” Abidi said.

“One of the important steps taken was the introduction of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) with Braille numerals by the side of the ballot buttons to assist the visually impaired,” Abidi said.

The Election Commission has also ordered that polling booths will have different queues for handicapped people, and proper ramps to be constructed for easy accessibility. Poll personnel are being sensitised to handle the special needs of handicapped.

“The Election Commission, in an affidavit, assured us that all these provisions will be put in place,” Abidi said.

Ravi Verma, who works with an NGO for the visually impaired, added: “These provisions will be a big boost to the seven percent disabled population of our country to come out and vote.”

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