Commercial buildings must be disabled-friendly: Bombay HC tells BMC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to grant approvals to commercial buildings only after ensuring that they have various facilities for differently-abled persons.

A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre gave the direction while hearing two petitions filed by interior designer Nisha Jamvwal and advocate Abha Singh over the lack of wheelchair access and other facilities for differently-abled persons in some commercial buildings.

While hearing the pleas, the court expressed concern over the lack of ramps and other facilities inside the premises of several commercial buildings to make them more friendly for differently-abled people.

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"When the civic body gives sanction to such buildings, it should make it mandatory for them to be constructed in such a manner that it is easily accessible to the differently-abled too," Chief Justice Nandrajog said.

"Before granting the Occupancy Certificate (OC), you (BMC) should inspect the building and see if it has been done," he said. Advocate Singh on Thursday submitted a list of 15 buildings in the south and central Mumbai, lacking proper facilities.

The buildings include the Oberoi Hotel at Nariman Point, the Four Seasons Hotel, and the National Gallery of Modern Art, besides some malls and theatres. The bench directed the civic body to inspect these buildings and submit a report on August 26.