People with disabilities have been largely unsuccessful in securing their rights, said M.N. Venkatachaliah, chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and the former Chief Justice of India.

Official apathy and failure of the Government in ensuring basic human rights to persons with disabilities is a critical issue in society today, he said at a workshop on “14 years of the Disability Act: A Boon or Bane”, organised by the Snehadeep Trust here on Monday. “If there is one good officer, there are 10 dishonest ones who criticise him and prevent him from being responsible,” he said.

Reality check

Mr. Venkatachaliah said that while official figures state that 2.3 per cent of the population lives with disabilities in the country, in reality there are three times the number. As for their families, they too are victims of social prejudice, he said.

Governor of Karnataka H.R. Bhardwaj, who inaugurated the conference, said that while the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 had been “well formulated”, its implementation has been a “question mark”.

Speaking on the need for social inclusiveness, he said: “It is the responsibility of the Government to uphold the rights of the people with special needs, and they should be involved in every sphere of society.”