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[RSTV] Law of the Land – Rights of persons with Disabilities Bill 2014


Objective

To ensure equality and non-discrimination of people with special disabilities.

The subject of legislation falls under State list as Relief of the disabled and unemployable then why is this bill introduced in the parliament?

It is to fulfil the obligation under United Nations convention on Rights of persons with disability, 2006. India had ratified this convention on 2007.

This falls under Article 253 of the Centre State relations wherein central government can legislate on any subject to give effect to International Conventions and Agreements.

Features of the Bills

  1. Twelve more disabilities have been added to the existing seven making it 19 disabilities altogether.
  2. Ensures Right to equality, Life with dignity and Respect for his/her Integrity to Persons with Disability.
  3. People with not less than 40% disability to be given reservation in education and employment and also special preference in Government schemes.
  4. Increasing reservation in posts from existing 3 to 5%
  5. All education institutions to provide inclusive education and disable friendly accommodation.
  6. A National Fund is proposed to provide financial support to persons with disabilities;
  7. Setting up of National Commission and State Commission to act as Grievance Redressal Mechanism and to monitor implementation of the proposed legislation
  8. Penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities
  9. Court of Session to be designated as Special Court in consultation with the chief justice of relevant states by the State Government in every district to try offences against persons with disability.
  10. Imposed obligations  on State Governments such as ensuring that all existing public buildings are made accessible within five years, all public documents are in accessible format and  retrofitting of vehicles and accessibility of bus stops, railway stations and airports for disabled persons.

Parliamentary Standing Committee Recommendations

  1. To include Private firms under Reservation policy as that would help them gain access to outsourced government jobs.
  2. To include kidney failure, blood cancer, type 1 diabetes, dwarfism and transgender in the disability list.
  3. To define more clearly the definition of Social barriers so that attitudinal changes can be brought in the society to aid the implementation of the legislation.
  4. To define Discrimination more clearly so that the penalty imposition cannot be misused.
  5. To increase the upper age limit to 21 years under Right to Education.
  6. To frame disability budget inorder to address the problems of disabled people.
  7. Five year time frame may be suitable for small government institutions but not feasible for large buildings.
  8. States might need extra support in financial terms to implement the provisions of the bill.
  9. To provide food, shelter, clothing and health services free off cost to the disabled.
  10. Special treatment for women and child who are disabled should be included in the bill as they are subject to more abuse.

Analysis of the Bill

The existing PH certificate is insensitive to the intricacies of the disability condition and the associated diversities. The Bill has left it to the state governments to decide the form and type of certificate which might lead to more inconsistencies.

The Bill remains silent on the Funding Measures that might be extended for carrying out the provisions of the bill.

It is a Tall call on the states to implement the provisions of the bill within the time frame of 5 years without any clue about the financial help that will be extended from the central government.

The bill is aspirational but lacks a futuristic perspective. The bill might have to go through a series of amendments  in future as most of the definitions are not clear and exhaustive.

The legal framework lacks clarity as in there is no information about What services will be provided, How it will be provided, When and Where it will be provided and what is the remedy if the service is not provided.

The argument that the bill imposes a financial obligation on the states is not appropriate as the bill has laid down only basic facilities for disabled people and its high time their rights are recognised.

Special Provisions for poor disabled people should be implemented as they have minimal livelihood options and are  often subjected to neglect and abuse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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