Disabilities Bill recognises acid attacks and Parkinson’s disease too

Children with disabilities hold placards during an event on the occasion of International Day for Persons with Disabilities.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Introduced in 2014, towards the end of UPA-II’s tenure, The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The government brought 119 amendments to the Bill, and this legislation has been pending in the House since February 2014. Brought in to comply with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this Bill replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

In September 2014, the Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.

Earlier Act identified only seven disabilities

The earlier Act identified only seven disabilities. But this Bill has increased the number of conditions recognised to 21. It also allows the government to notify any other condition as a disability.

The amended version also recognised two other disabilities not previously considered — disability due to acid attacks and Parkinson’s Disease. Persons with at least 40 per cent of a disability are eligible for reservation in education and employment, and preference in government schemes.

This Bill also gives several rights to persons with disabilities, such as access to public spaces that were previously inaccessible. There is also a clause that places of employment cannot discriminate against persons with disabilities.

For those with mental illnesses, guardianship can be granted by district courts — either as limited guardian or plenary guardian. A limited guardian is one who will make decisions in consultation with the mentally ill person, and a plenary guardian makes decisions for them without their inputs.

The existing Act does not have any punitive clauses. But the new Bill makes it clear that violation of any provision is punishable with imprisonment up to six months, and/or fine of Rs 10,000. Subsequent violations will have higher fines, but the amended version may do away with prison time.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 5:04:09 PM |

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