CHENNAI: “Why can’t he just find a job, live and go? He is apparently fighting for the country; a hair plucking person.” This is one of the milder comments charged against a disabled petitioner by allegedly a Personal Assistant (PA) working at the Registrar’s Office at the Madras High Court.
In an audio recording produced by Muruganantham Lingasamy, the disabled petitioner, the PA uses highly derogatory language and even compares Lingasamy to a female sexual organ. Lingasamy however says that the incident is a trickle down of the larger neglect faced by persons with disability to access the judiciary and not the fault of one individual alone.
Lingasamy had filed Writ Petition seeking COVID-19 called the registrar’s office to know the reason why the case was not listed when the PA answered the call, the petitioner told The New Indian Express. In the audio recording, the PA is heard to be discussing the phone call to another staff nearby.
The person on the other end of the call is heard accusing Lingasamy as someone seeking relief for the disabled to earn fame. In a complaint letter to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Lingasamy said that the PA insulted and humiliated him intentionally knowing he was disabled.
“The words expressed in native language are more hurting,” he said, alleging that the incident happened only because the Court did not comply with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. “Even as I submitted multiple representations, the Court never replied. I would have no need to call the office if the Court followed the protocols and responded,” he told this newspaper.
He urged the Chief Justice to take appropriate action on the staff and comply stringently with all the provisions under Section 12 read with Section 2(f) and 2(h) of the Rights of Persons with Disability Act which enlist the rights of disabled persons to access justice.
Speaking to Express, a senior official from the court administrative department said that, “There is no chance for making such a statement by any of the staff in the judicial department and an enquiry will be conducted if a formal complaint is made”.