LAHORE: (APP) Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Wednesday ordered federal government and Bureau of Statistics to include information regarding persons with disabilities in the census form during data collection, starting from March 18.
The court ordered that male with disability should be assigned number 4 whereas female and transgender with disability should be assigned number 5 and 6 respectively in column No. 3, pertaining to sex, in the census form.
The court directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to disseminate information for convenience of field staff and general public.
The court also directed the bureau to include a special column for persons with disabilities in the next census.
The Chief Justice passed these orders while allowing a petition filed by Shafique ur Rehman.
During the hearing, petitioner's counsel Barrister Nabeel Dahir submitted that federal government was conducting national population census but persons with disabilities were not being included and counted in the census. He pleaded the court to issue directions for including the persons with disabilities in the census.
However, a deputy attorney general along with joint commissioner, Bureau of Statistic, submitted that as per decision of council of common interest, Form-2 would be used in census exercise whereas Form-2A containing information regarding disability and other matters would be used in sample survey, to be held in September 2017.
At this, the court observed that under UN Convention on Rights of Persons with disabilities, it was an international obligation to collect information regarding persons with disabilities in order to formulate and implement policies regarding them. Depriving the persons with disabilities from being included in the national census would offend their welfare and future prospects, the court added.
But, the joint commissioner apprised that it was not possible to print new forms at this stage. However, he explained that in order to include transgender in the census as per court order, the field staff had been directed to assign them number 3, in column 3, pertaining to sex , in the form.
At this, the court observed that on similar pattern, persons with disabilities could be assigned numbers to know their strength. The court ordered that male with disability should be assigned number 4 whereas female and transgender with disability should be assigned number 5 and 6 respectively in column No 3, pertaining to sex, in the census form. The court allowing the petition directed the Bureau to issue instructions to field staff.