Differently Abled Individual Challenges Denial of Driving License in Kerala High Court

Mainstream
28-Jun-2024
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The Kerala High Court has been approached by Rudranath AS, a differently abled individual, who is challenging the denial of his right to obtain a driving license despite having the necessary medical clearance. The petition, Rudranath AS v. State of Kerala, brings to light the struggles faced by differently-abled persons in accessing equal opportunities.


Rudranath, who has a 40 percent disability in his right arm and hand, turned 18 and sought to apply for a driving license. He approached a driving school, which instructed him to first get permission from the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Armed with a medical fitness certificate stating that he could obtain a driving license if the vehicle was suitably modified, Rudranath approached the RTO.


Despite the medical clearance, the RTO dismissed his request, arguing that the vehicle could not be modified to accommodate his needs. Subsequent appeals to the Deputy Transport Commissioner also resulted in denial, prompting Rudranath to file a petition with the High Court.


In his plea, Rudranath contends that the denial violates the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. He argues that treating individuals as disabled in a manner that denies them equal opportunities contravenes Articles 19 and 21, which ensure freedom of movement, freedom to practice any profession, and the right to life and personal liberty.


"The provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act were invoked in an arbitrary manner to deny me the opportunity to take a driving test," the petitioner stated, alleging that the authorities' refusal to consider the medical certificate demonstrates an antagonistic approach to his situation.


Rudranath emphasized that it is a settled principle that differently-abled persons can obtain a driving license, provided they have the necessary skills, training, and medical clearance to safely operate a vehicle. He argued that since he meets all these requirements, the Court should ensure that he is granted a driving license upon passing the driving test.


The case highlights the broader issue of accessibility and equal rights for differently abled individuals in India. The petitioner’s fight for his driving license is a step towards challenging systemic barriers and advocating for inclusive policies that recognize the capabilities and rights of differently abled persons.


As the Kerala High Court deliberates on this petition, the outcome could set a significant precedent for the rights of differently abled individuals across the country, ensuring they are afforded the same opportunities and rights as all other citizens.


Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer