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A petition was filed by four people with visual and hearing impairments who sought directions on making films accessible to them.

A petition was filed by four people with visual and hearing impairments who sought directions on making films accessible to them.
| Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Delhi High Court has given the Centre time till July 15 to notify the guidelines for making films accessible to the hearing and visually impaired.

The court said accessibility was enforceable as a legal right and that even private parties have to take reasonable measures to enable greater accessibility for persons with hearing and visual impairments.

The court observed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has framed draft guidelines for accessibility standards in cinema halls for persons with hearing and visual disabilities and is in the process of finalising the same.

“The guidelines shall now be finalised by the MIB and shall be notified on or before July 15, 2024. It is made clear that the said guidelines shall make the provision of accessibility features mandatory and provide a reasonable period for compliance by all stakeholders, in an expeditious manner,” the court ordered.

The court’s order came on a petition by four people with visual and hearing impairments who sought directions on making films accessible to them.

The petitioners argued that though various rights have been recognised for ‘persons with disabilities’ under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, most films which are released in India do not cater to disabled persons despite the statute having been enacted more than five years ago.

The MIB had issued various directions to the film producers’ association and to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in October 2019, to use audio description and subtitles/closed captions in all films.

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