The Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with the Indian Railway’s decision to issue separate ID cards to disabled persons for availing concession instead of using the government-issued Unique Disability Identity (UDID) Card.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, while closing the proceedings on a PIL on the issue, noted that a policy decision was taken by Railways to issue a “Photo Identity Card” for disabled persons on the basis of disability certificates for purchase of concessional tickets and to ensure that they are not required to submit disability certificates whenever they buy a ticket.
The bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad, said the procedure adopted by the Railways was fair and transparent and ordered, “This Court does not find any reason to interfere with the circular dated 19.03.2015 (introducing the photo identity card) issued by the Railways and, therefore, no further orders are required to be passed in the present PIL.”
“In the considered opinion of this Court, the procedure adopted by the Railways is a fair and transparent procedure and in fact, the circular dated 19.03.2015 has been issued by the Railways to ensure that a disabled person is not required to show the disability certificate every time while buying a ticket,” it said in a recent order.
NGO National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), in its PIL filed in 2019, had contended that the Rights of Persons with Disability Act (RPWD Act) overrides the circular of 2015 issued by the Railway Ministry, but the Indian Railways was still going ahead with the issuance of separate identity cards for disabled persons seeking to avail railway concession.
It had sought directions to the Railways to validate the UDID cards instead of issuing a fresh identity card.
In its order, the court noted that as a welfare measure, Railways extended concession in fare to more than 50 categories of passengers which included four categories of Divyang passengers, 11 type of patients, senior citizens, press correspondents, war widows, sports persons, etc. and the concession varied from 10 per cent to 100 per cent.
It further observed that the disability certificate issued under the RPWD Act to certify a disability was valid across India and it was on that basis that the “Photo Identity Card was being issued by the Railways.
“The Railways has issued a circular dated 19.03.2015 and in order to ensure that disabled persons are not required to submit their disability certificate each and every time while buying a ticket, a policy decision has been taken by the Railways to issue a Photo Identity Card for the purpose of purchase of tickets and the Photo Identity Card is issued on the basis of certificate of disability issued under Section 58 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016,” the court said.
The petitioner had contended that the 2015 circular of the Railway Ministry was not only violative of Article 14 of the Constitution but also impaired and impinged all other fundamental rights of the disabled and creates barrier in the enjoyment of amenities of life by the disabled.
The plea had said that the UDID cards issued by the Ministry of Social Justice under the RPWD Act, 2016, was valid for all purposes, including availing railway concessions.
The petition had said the idea behind issuance of UDID cards was to “encourage transparency, efficiency and ease of delivering government benefits to person with disabilities” and also “ensure uniformity”.