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Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • IASbaba
  • November 12, 2022
  • 0
Governance
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Context:  Recently, the Supreme Court of India (SCI) discussed an important matter concerning the rights of persons with disabilities where the blanket exclusion of disabled persons from services such as the IPS, IRPF, DANICS, and Lakshadweep Police Service was challenged.

  • As per the Census 2011, there are 26.8 million persons with disabilities in India, making up 2.21 per cent of the total population.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment established the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) to ensure focused attention to policy issues related to persons with disabilities and work towards their empowerment.
  • There has been no mention of disabled persons either in the constitution or the preamble.

About Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016:

  • It is the disability legislation passed by the Indian Parliament to fulfil its obligation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India ratified in 2007.

Features:

Expansion of Disability Criteria:

  • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  • The types of disabilities have been increased from the existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government has been given the power to add more types of disabilities.

Reservation:

  • Benefits such as reservation in higher education, government jobs, reservation in the allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes, etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
  • Reservation in vacancies in government establishments has been increased from 3% to 4% for certain persons or classes of persons with benchmark disabilities.

Inclusive Education:

  • Government-funded educational institutions as well as government-recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities.

Right to Free Education:

  • Every child with a benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.

Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability:

  • Broad-based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability are to be set up to serve as apex policy-making bodies at the Central and State level.

District-level Committees:

  • District-level committees will be constituted by the State Governments to address local concerns of PwDs.

National and State Funds

  • Creation of National and State Funds will be created to provide financial support to persons with disabilities.

Penalty:

  • It provides penalties for offenses committed against persons with disabilities and also violations of the provisions of the new law.

Special Courts:

  • Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning the violation of rights of PwDs.

SC Observations:

First Observation:

  • By referring to V Surendra Mohan v. State of Tamil Nadu (2019) case, the court observed that disabled judge was 100 percent blind. he would be cheated by juniors; people would make him sign all kinds of wrong documents, and therefore, it caused problems.
  • This observation warrants a deeper analytical response since just because someone was cheated in one instance, it does form a valid basis for the deprivation of rights to an entire class of citizens (persons with disabilities).

Second Observation:

  • It was observed that the reserved seats for the disabled were filled up just for the sake of it.
  • Such an observation does not align with ideas of sensitivity and the human dignity of persons with disabilities.

Third Observation:

  • The third observation was, “Sympathy is one aspect, practicality is another aspect”.
  • The petitioners are not seeking sympathy. They are rather making a legal, rights-based approach. It is the recognition of their legal rights that they are fighting for.

Way Forward:

  • Reasonable accommodation is necessary to help persons with disabilities exercise their rights and participate in society equally with others.
  • It’s not about sympathy but Person with Disabilities requires empathy and understanding.
  • The practicality aspect has to be assessed on the basis of the legal test of “undue burden”.
  • Whether providing reasonable accommodation is imposing too much of a burden on the duty bearer, only then can reasonable accommodation be refused for being impractical.

The citizens of the country should not leave any stone unturned to make the lives of the differently abled ones much easier.

Additional Information:

About United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

  • The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in December 2006 and it came into force on in May 2008.
  • Parties to the convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy full equality under the law
  • It is intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.
  • The convention is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Source: Indian Express

 

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