LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Saturday directed all the district and sessions judges across the Punjab province to ensure hearing of the cases of disabled persons on priority basis and their proper care in the courts.

The LHC has ordered utmost care of the special persons during the process of their litigation across the province.

A letter titled, “Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities under the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance, 1981” has been sent by LHC Registrar Shakeel Ahmad to the district judges for the purpose on the order of LHC Chief Justice Anwaarul Haq.

The letter sent by the LHC registrar says, “I am directed to refer to the subject cited above and to say that clause (I) of Section 2(a) the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance 1981 provides a standard of care for disable persons to the effect that: “Government will take steps for zero tolerance with regard to any type, nature, behavior  of mishandling of person with disabilities by any person, department, private or public organization and make sure the utmost respect and access to them.”

The direction is part of the chief justice’s vision to work continuously to improve the judicial system particularly to relieve the litigants across the province.

The letter further says, “Forgoing in view, you are directed to ensure a preferential treatment for early hearing of all the cases of disabled persons in your district on applications to be filed by them and followed by an order of the concerned court as regards the status of such person so defined in view of Clause (c) of Section 2 of the Ordinance ibid, and also to maintain the data of such persons with a view to strictly comply with the requirements of Section (A) of Ordinance (XL of 1981).”

In a landmark ruling passed earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had banned the usage of andha (blind), goonga (mute), behra (deaf) and langra (lame) to describe differently-abled persons in official matters and directed the government to make the necessary changes in this regard to the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance of 1981.

In the ruling, then LHC chief justice Mansoor Ali Shah also directed that disabled persons must now be referred to as “special persons”. When referring to persons who are unable to see, the term “visually impaired” must be used, the ruling said.

Under the same public welfare vision, the LHC chief justice had earlier taken strict action against the delay in disposal of applications for the grant of succession certificates by the civil courts in Punjab. He had observed that such applications remain pending for long period of time even after completion of proceedings.

He had directed all the courts dealing with applications for issuance of succession certificate to decide such petitions within a week, soon after completion of evidence.

He further directed the district judges to ensure strict compliance of the direction and impart necessary emphasis in monthly meetings with the judicial officers.