Arjun Kapur, Haritaa Nair, Sneha Pillai
BBA-LLB, Law School, Christ(Deemed to be)University
Following six years of campaigning, upholding and standing by calmly during long stretches of interruptions and suspensions in the warmed Winter Session of the Parliament in 2016, we at last saw the sympathy of our Parliamentarians with the consistent section of the much-anticipated Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill on fourteenth December, 2016 in the Rajya Sabha and consequently in the Lok Sabha on sixteenth December, 2016. The Bill was additionally endorsed and marked by the Hon’ble President before the year end and ‘informed’ by the Government in its official Gazette on 28th December, 2016. In this manner, RPWD Bill 2016 was ‘ordered’ and turned into a ‘LAW’, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016!
In contrast to the 1995 Act, the new Act discusses availability – setting a two-year cutoff time for the administration to guarantee that people with incapacities get boundary free admittance to physical framework and transport frameworks. Furthermore, it will likewise consider the private area responsible.
This has guided us into the following phase of and rights, ‘Disability 2.0″.
How has the RPwD Act, 2016 helped the disabled?
- Disability has been characterized dependent on a developing and dynamic idea.
- The kinds of incapacities have been expanded from the past 7 to 21, which incorporate: Leprosy Cured people, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Autism Spectrum Disorder, etc.
- Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been included. Corrosive Attack Victims have been incorporated.
- Extra advantages, for example, reservation in advanced education, government occupations, reservation in distribution of land, neediness easing plans and so on have been given for those with high help needs.
- Government supported instructive establishments like the legislature perceived foundations should furnish comprehensive training to the youngsters with incapacities.
- Reservation in government foundations has been expanded from 3% to 4% for specific people or class of people with benchmark inability.
- Central and State Advisory Boards on Disability are to be set up to fill in as zenith strategy making bodies at the Central and State level.
- Office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities has been fortified who will presently be helped by 2 Commissioners and an Advisory Committee including not in excess of 11 individuals drawn from specialists in different incapacities.
- Correspondingly, the workplace of State Commissioners of Disabilities has been reinforced who will be helped by an Advisory Committee involving not in excess of 5 individuals drawn from specialists in different handicaps.
- The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will go about as administrative bodies and Grievance Redressal offices and furthermore screen usage of the Act.
- Area level boards will be established by the State Governments to address the grievances of people with disabilities.
- Production of National and State Fund will be made to offer monetary help to the people with inabilities. The current National Fund for Persons with Disabilities and the Trust Fund for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities will be subsumed with the National Fund.
- The Bill accommodates punishments for offenses submitted against people with incapacities and furthermore infringement of the arrangements of the new law.
- Extraordinary Courts will be assigned in each area to deal with cases concerning infringement of privileges of PwDs
- It empowers people with insufficiencies by guarding their balance, chance to make their own choices and independence. This Act hopes to achieve harmony between individuals with insufficiencies and others.
Criticisms about RPwD Act
Even though the Act covers a lot of crucial issues comprehensively there still exists certain loopholes and shortcomings. The quota of reservation for persons with disabilities was increased from the then existing 3% to 4% in government jobs and 3% to 5% in higher educational institutions. Unfortunately, these reservations remain merely on paper. A lot of posts in the government sector, especially group A and B services continue to lie vacant, and the situation with respect to the seats in educational institutions is also similar. The reason cited by the authorities is that they do not have suitable candidates. This can happen due to two major reasons. Firstly, the Indian education system does not equip them with the required skills and secondly, there is a presence of a sense of discrimination on the part of the employer in employing such people. Both the reasons are extremely shameful and steps have to be taken keeping their genuine interest at heart.
The section 3(3) under the RPwD Act, 2016 is regressive in nature. This clause states that there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of disability, but it also gives an exception to this rule wherein such an act will not be punished. The phrase “…a legitimate aim” is not concretely defined and its interpretation is open to the bureaucracy. This gives them a window to deny claims, even legitimate ones.
Another major criticism against the Act is its faulty implementation. In a study conducted it was found that almost 50% of the states in the country are yet to frame rules and 79.2% has not allocated funds as per the provisions of the Act. Action in this direction has to be initiated by the States as this is a subject under the State List as per Schedule VII of the Constitution. While 58.3% of the states have not notified special courts in the districts for trying offences, 87.5% have not appointed a special public prosecutor as mandated by the law. Although the RPwD Act, 2016 is a step in the right direction for making a positive change in the life of the specially-abled, it will be a true success only if it can be implemented completely in its word and spirit.
The formation of a monetarily helpful environment is impossible by endangering the privileges of the minimized which were made sure about after an extended battle. In the hours of the COVID-19 pandemic, the crippled alongside the overall people are battling for their means. The outcome of a not well-arranged lockdown has prompted enormous wraps of the working populace being denied of their wellsprings of occupation. It suggests genuine conversation starters on the administration’s goals.
The recommendations for revising the RPwD Act, 2016 have been moved back through the steady endeavors of incapacity activists and NGOs. The need of solidarity and solidarity among all areas of the minimized is central in reinforcing their obstruction. Subsequently, their array to strengthen their campaign to change the RPwD Act to see the rear of its disparities, and execution of different legal provisos in the Act, is key.
1) The rights of persons with disabilities act, 2016: Challenges and opportunities- www.indianjpsychiatry.org
2) Disabilities act: States going slow on roll-out, says study – www.thehindu.com
3) Study conducted by the Hindu in collaboration with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment (NCEDP) and National Committee in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD)
3) Persons with disabilities challenges in India- thewire.in
4) Rights to Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016