Thursday, August 04, 2022

Disability rights groups up in arms over DGCA amendment

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA’s) recent tweaking of a key Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) to help differently-abled travellers board flights hassle-free has not gone down well with disability rights groups, who have demanded its immediate rollback. Fifty-eight disability rights organisations have endorsed a letter written to Arun Kumar, Director General, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), demanding that the recently amended Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) “be withdrawn with immediate effect”.

Condemning the amended provision as “derogatory and retrograde”, the rights groups have written that the new guidelines “challenges the right to equality for persons with disabilities as guaranteed by the Constitution of India through Article14”. The letter states that the provision is “also discriminatory under Section 3 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016”. The letter concludes that the new provisions would “be a grave injustice to millions of people with disabilities who have been using air transport as a mode of travel” and “literally restrict people with disabilities from travelling for any purpose”.

According to the DGCA’s amendment, airlines can no longer deny boarding to any person on the basis of disability and/or reduced mobility without a doctor first examining the person and stating that the said passenger’s health may deteriorate during the course of the journey. Rights groups accuse the DGCA and the MoCA of functioning under the fallacious and confused belief that “anyone in a wheelchair is ill” and erroneously equating differently-abled travellers with ill health.

04/08/22 Ravi Sharma/Frontline

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