In the instant case, certain accessibility deficiencies in the National War Memorial at India Gate, New Delhi built by the Ministry of Defence and inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister in Feb 2019 were brought to the notice of the Court in form of an email attaching a detailed report of an access audit conducted by Shri Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, Svayam- Global Centre for Inclusive Environment of the memorial. It was also shared that Mr. Vashishth had been following up with the concerned Senior Officials of the National War Memorial, however, they were reluctant to undertake any improvements and were not responding to the audit recommendations.
This Court took up the matter Suo Motu with the Joint Secretary & Chief Administrative Officer, Min. of Defence, Govt of India & Chairman, New Delhi Municipal Council under whose jurisdiction the memorial has been built and registered as Case No. 908/1108/2019/05/9203-9204 | Dated 31.12.2019.
Mr. Vashishth was requested to be amicus curiae in the matter to assist the court as an expert and Court also roped in expert from the visually impaired sector for necessary guidance to the respondents to make the National War Memorial Accessible in light of Section 44 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016. In due course, the Defence ministry worked out a plan of action in consultation with the accessibility experts and prepared short term, mid term and long term goals to gradually achieve accessibility at the Memorial.