Government has been dragged to court over the recently commissioned High Court building in Mukono as well as several other court buildings around the country, which are not user-friendly for Persons with Disabilities.
Government and public buildings like these are required under the law to have features that allow easy access by the people with physical disabilities as well as the elderly.
The Government though the Attorney General is being sued by one Emmanuel Chadia, in the case that has been fixed for hearing in September this year.
Chadia cites in his suit, the High Court building in Mukono, which was commissioned on April 19th but lacks ramps, lifts, rails, standard toilets, or other reasonable accommodation for PWDs especially those using crutches, wheel chairs and calipers, as well as the elderly, who are unable to climb stairs.
Chandia, a disabled lawyer, says this violates a number of laws including a right to equality, and freedom from discrimination as well as his right to practice his profession and carry on his lawful occupation as an advocate, who must appear in person to represent his clients.
The lawyer also cites several other buildings hosting courts around the country, such as the Supreme Court, the Main High Court Building, The Family Division in Makindye, High Court Buildings in Masaka, Mbale, Soroti, Gulu, Mbarara Arua Fort Portal, as well as Chief Magistrates Courts; which lack the standard requirements provided in public places under the Building Control Act and the Persons with Disabilities Act.
Chandia is now seeking an order for government to stop holding court sessions in the Mukono building.
He also wants court to force government to undertake architectural designs, plans and budgets for provision of accessibility of all court buildings in the country, within the next 6 months.
All court buildings, he says, should have among others, easy to find entrances, connected by accessible pathways to accessible indoor and outdoor parking spaces, local public transport stops, accessible elevators, safe and accessible urinals, bathrooms for diverse disabilities, ramps, stares for the elderly among others.
The case was fixed for hearing on September 9th by the High Court Registrar.