Madras HC to hear PIL against malfunctioning wheelchairs for differently-abled on Monday


The first bench of the Madras High court comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Adikesavalu will hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Spinal Injured Persons Association on Monday.

The petition filed on Saturday is already listed for admission and hearing on Monday.

D. Gnana Bharathi, president of Spinal Injured Persons Association in the petition complained that the state government has been procuring and distributing substandard and defective battery-operated wheelchairs since 2015 to those suffering from muscular dystrophy and tetraplegia.

The association in the petition wants the court to direct the government to procure the wheelchairs after conducting a proper quality check. The petitioner alleged that the Tamil Nadu government has been procuring battery-operated wheelchairs since 2015 and a Bengaluru based private company was supplying the wheelchairs since then.

The litigant also said the users of these wheelchairs could not get them repaired after periodical dysfunction as the company had not established any proper service centres in Tamil Nadu.

The petitioner also said even after the issue was brought to the notice of the Commissioner for Differently Abled, they continued to purchase the wheelchair from the same supplier. The Spinal Injuries Persons Association also said that Spinal injured differently-abled persons could be categorised into two.

Those who have disabilities in the cervical region and those with injuries in the thoracic and lumbar region and the first category requires wheelchairs while the second requires scooters. The association in the petition alleged that in Tamil Nadu both types of Spinal injured persons are given battery-operated wheelchairs without considering the difference.

The Spinal Injuries Persons Association also petitioned that all the wheelchairs supplied by the company be taken back and conduct a total overhaul and then be handed back with a lifetime warranty.

The association in the petition before the Madras High Court requested for constituting an expert body for better implementation of these schemes.