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Lok Sabha passes the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016 - (16 Dec 2016)

Constitution

In last lap of winter session of this year, Lok Sabha  has passed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016, replacing the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995. The Bill aims at securing and enhancing rights and entitlements of disabled persons. Bill complies with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India became a signatory in 2007. Bill covers wide range of problems from physical disabilities to mental illness and multiple disabilities under it. Further, bill provides for strict provisions for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and violation of provisions of the new law. Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability are included for the first time. Acid Attack Victims are also added. Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016 is a landmark legislation providing strength and positive change towards life of crores of differently-abled people.

In total, the types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 which are Blindness, Low-vision, Leprosy Cured persons, Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing), Locomotor Disability, Dwarfism, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Chronic Neurological conditions, Specific Learning Disabilities, Multiple Sclerosis, Speech and Language disability, Thalassemia, Hemophilia, Sickle Cell disease, Multiple Disabilities including deaf blindness, Acid Attack victim and Parkinson's disease. Further, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability. By way of said legislation, the Reservation for disabled shall now increase by 2 per cent in colleges while one per cent in government jobs i.e. 4%. Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years will have the right to free education.

The Bill provides for grant of guardianship by District Court under which there will be joint decision – making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities. The 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. The Office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities has been strengthened who will now be assisted by 2 Commissioners and an Advisory Committee comprising of not more than 11 members drawn from experts in various disabilities. Also, the office of State Commissioners of Disabilities has been strengthened who will be assisted by an Advisory Committee comprising of not more than 5 members drawn from experts in various disabilities. Further, the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies and also monitor implementation of the Act. All the District level committees will be constituted by the State Governments to address local concerns of PwDs. Details of their constitution and the functions of such committees would be prescribed by the State Governments in the rules. Creation of National and State Fund will be created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities. The existing 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 provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and also violation of the provisions of the new law. Another feature of this Bill is that the Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.

 The New Act will bring Indian law in line with the United National Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory. This will fulfill the obligations on the part of India in terms of UNCRD. Further, the new law will not only enhance the Rights and Entitlements of Divyangjan but also provide effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and true inclusion into the Society in a satisfactory manner.

Tags : DISABLED PERSONS   RIGHTS   BILL  

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