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Critical Analysis Of The Rights And Privileges Of The Disabled

Disability is a condition which restricts a person to perform as efficiently as the other fit person. They are socially marginalized and need special attention from each and every member of the society. Protection of their rights is of paramount importance. However, Disability rights are not much spoken about. The Constitution of India guarantees several rights through its Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and the Preamble to the Disabled. They state provisions guaranteeing them social justice, social torture and protection from all forms of discrimination.

Though, there are various provisions to safeguard the interests of the Persons with Disability, their human rights are still violated. A barrier free access to buildings, equal opportunities in getting jobs, right to education, and right to health is still a dream for many of them. Even though the Government have been instrumental in making the lives of the Disabled easier, their efforts are still not enough. This paper analyzes the various hardships faced by the Disabled not only because of their physical restrictions but also because of the social stigma attached to disability.

Disability refers to any impairment of the body or the mind of any person which makes it difficult for him to perform any task in that condition. There can be various perspective of being disabled such as anthropological, social, medical and psychological. The medical disability comprises of the bodily impairment which shall require a treatment in order to be normal. Social disability refers to the restrictions that the society creates for the disabled.

The first census for disability was conducted in 1872 in the Colonial period. Two types of disabilities- mental and physical had been taken into account for this census. However the practice of census was stopped in 1931 because of the reason that at that point of time disability was not a major point of concern of the administration. Disability again found a place in census after a period of 50 years in 1981 which a new addition of the impairment Dumb in it. By the 1990's, there was a need for a law to provide for fair opportunities to the disabled.

The Disability Laws In India:

There were no laws in India for the welfare and interest of the Disabled until 1995. In 1995 the Persons with Disabilities Act (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) was passed to prevent the disabled persons from any form of discrimination. This Act provided for equal opportunities for the disabled and promotes their full participation in all spheres of life and has a provision of reservation in government jobs for the disabled persons up to 3%.

However, only the people suffering from medical disability are covered in this Act and there are no provisions for any socially disabled person. This act covers Physical Disability which includes locomotive disability, hearing and visual impairment, Intellectual Disability, Mental Disability and Disability due to any chronic or blood disorder. Additional benefits have also been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.

The Government focuses on the prevention of disabilities and also has brought in various rehabilitation measures. The National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006, has an aim to provide better rehabilitation measures to the Disabled as they are an essential human resource for the country and can work efficiently with proper rehabilitation measures. These policies help the Disabled to get equal opportunities and representation in the society.

India became a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 1st October, 2007. Rigorous steps are being taken to fulfil all the obligations of the Bill by the Ministries in India. The First Country Report had also been submitted by India to the UN Committee in November 2015.

In 2012, the Central Government came up with Rights to Persons with Disability Bill, 2016, which would help improve their conditions in the society. Some amendments were made in the Bill and then it was after a wait of three years passed in both houses of the Parliament. It codified the various provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Many conditions like sickle cell disease, blindness, mental illness and so on came under this category. India has one of the largest populations of disabled people and this Bill would help in positively changing their lives forever.

The National Policy on Education 1986, Payment of Gratuity Act 1972, Health and Welfare Act 1986, Equal Remuneration Act 1976 are some of the other laws of India which have provisions included for the welfare, protection and promotion of the persons with Disability in India.

There are various provisions for the persons with disabilities but the proper implementation of these laws is not taken care of. Disabled persons require utmost care and attention and the laws for them fail to provide all that they require. Therefore, it is necessary to make people aware of the various problems faced by them so that everybody together helps bring a change in their present condition.

Recent Steps Taken By The Government:

A few years before, it was very difficult for the disabled to lead an independent life but the advent of internet and technology has surely helped many disabled to fulfill few of their needs. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had come up with the idea of Sugamaya Pustakalaya where the visually impaired could listen to audio books. The Government had undertook the Smart City Mission under which they are trying to make their cities disabled friendly by ensuring access to pathways, public transport and so on.

The government portals, websites and other e-mediums are also trying to be made disabled friendly. The Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan or the Accessible Indian Campaign had been announced by the Prime Minister in 2015 to make accessibility easy for the Disabled. Acts have been passed in the Parliament for the betterment of the condition of the Disabled by providing them equal opportunities and rights as other people.

The protection of the Disabled is also incorporated in the Constitution of India as well in the following Articles:
Article 41 of the Constitution of India states that:
The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement. Therefore, the Constitution provides provisions for their education, work and public assistance of the persons with disability.

Article 46 of the Constitution of India states that: The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. Therefore, persons with disability, being the weaker section of the society, are having the provision of special protection of their economic and educational interests.

Are These Rights And Steps Enough?

Around 80 million people in India are disabled which could be since birth, by accident or certain other medical conditions. The World Bank reports suggest that there is one disabled person in one of every twelve houses in India. The 2011 census report stated the fact that 2.21 percent of the population in India is disabled which makes us behind Sri Lanka and Myanmar as well as per the reports of the Indian Express. However, if we able to do justice to all the needs of the disabled or not is an essential concern for discussion.

Though, there are various provisions to safeguard the interests of the Persons with Disability, their human rights are still violated. They are considered the weaker section of the society and are categorized as incapable of doing anything. They are denied the right to education many times and lack any job opportunities. They are a victim to social torture also and their rights are violated by the other members of the society all the times. They are usually looked upon as sinners who are suffering now because of their past sins. Let us analyze the hardships faced by them in the essential areas of life.

Education: Most of the colleges in India are not well designed for the Students with Disabilities. The lack of disabled friendly transportation offerings and reachable buildings is also a hindrance in getting an effective education. There is a need for the Government to offer the Disabled students with a free training and also set up more schools with vocational education centers. There is also a huge crunch in the number of teachers available for the disabled. These are a few areas where a proper implementation of the right of equal opportunities to the Disabled is missing. The Act is also oblivious to some critical factors like: Pre-college education of disabled youngsters, unique issues of the parents of the disabled, unique problems of the female disabled, cultural activities for the disabled, exploitation of disabled by their very own households, better schooling of the disabled which does resists them to be at par with the society.

The health of the Persons with Disabilities is of paramount importance. It should be looked after by the Government. Many of the disabled persons are from the poor families. Improper care during the pregnancy by the mothers even leads to various disabilities of the child. Due to the poverty struck conditions, the disabled person is shifted to a shelter house or some non- governmental organization.

The conditions of these shelter houses and other institutions for the disabled take a toll on the health of the disabled persons. Cases of many shelter homes like Asha Kiran have been reported for cases in which there have been deaths of 228 inmates of the shelter house. As per the article in the Times of India, they stay in pathetic conditions. The unhygienic environment develops severe diseases in them.

There is even a problem of overcrowding in these institutions which even leads to the problem of food which detoriates the health of the disabled persons. Many a times the disabled persons are forced to live in mental hospitals which are detrimental for their mental health. They are exposed to horrible unhygienic and pitiful conditions inside in the mental hospital. These cases need to be taken seriously by the Government and arrangements regarding the same should be made by them as soon as possible to uplift the present condition of the persons with disabilities of the society.

The buildings, roads are not accessible by the persons with disabilities. Persons with Disability need special care and attention which should be taken care of by the Government. Most of the buildings are not accessible by the disabled persons and therefore it violates their right to movement. They should have accessibility in playing, restrooms, signs, passenger pickup zones and so on. It is required on the part of the government to look into the needs of accessibility of the disabled persons so that they are not left out amongst the others.

Job Opportunities:
The disabled persons are considered as burden on their households. Job opportunities for these men and women are very critical. The human-resource departments of most corporations have no longer been satisfied of employing in a differently abled person. They neither put money into training nor do they modify places of work in a manner that would fit the folks with unique desires.

At present, reservation for the disabled is 3% in the ratio of 1% each for bodily, visually and hearing-impaired people. But in real exercise this 3 percent reservation will become one percent of the entire vacancies and the existing act does not cowl the employees within the personal zone. 95% of the government jobs are not open for the disabled which is a violation of their rights and therefore measures should be taken to improve their condition.

Women with Disability:
Women stricken by disabilities are dealing with great problems in public and personal spheres as they haven't any get right of entry to vocational training and employment. They are much more likely to be institutionalized. They also revel in inequality in hiring, promoting fees, pay for identical work, access to schooling and retraining, credit score and other productive sources, and infrequently take part in economic selection making.

Although, India has improved in various factors in regard to the Person with Disabilities but we have a long way to go as there are several other problems also which we have not been able to overcome.

Indian Constitution guarantees Article 14 to all its citizens and therefore the disabled persons have all the rights just like a normal person. Barrier free access to buildings, equal opportunities in getting jobs, right to education, and right to health of the disabled persons should be protected and promoted by the Government. They are a vulnerable section of the society, their rights can be easily violated by the other members of the society.

They are exposed to discrimination, abuses and so on and therefore it requires keen care of the Government to improve their condition. As per the critical suggestions drawn in the report provided by The Mint, they are deprived of receiving any education, their movement is restricted due to inaccessible buildings and so on. These conditions needs to be looked into and their conditions should be improved at any cost by the Government to India. The buildings should be made more accessible for the disabled personals.

There should be proper equipment's in the school for the disabled to understand things effectively. There should be new unique methods to teach the disabled. There should be special care of their sanitation and they should be provided with public assistance whenever necessary. Therefore, the existing laws have a huge impact in the present condition of the persons with disability but it is the need of the hour to uplift them from their present condition by inserting more areas where their rights are violated and need special interest.

One of the most important changes required is in the society's mindset as there is a stigma attached that the disabled suffer because of their own sins and are capable of doing nothing. They are just like us and have all the rights and privileges that people without disabilities are guaranteed and therefore there should be no discrimination against in this regard. It is the 21st century where everybody needs to be considerate about the other members of the society and disabled people being one of the weaker sections of the society needs our attention.

  • Nayan Joshi. Lawman's Critical Perspectives on Disability Laws, pp. 40-46, Kamal Publishers, (2017).
  1. Nilika Mehrotra, Disability Rights Movement in India: Politics and Practice, Vol. 46, Economic & Political Weekly, 65, pp. 67-72, 2011.
  2. Katerina Kazou, Analysis of the Definition of Disability in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Is it really a bad Social Model Approach, Vol. 25, International Journal of Mental Health and Capacity, 1, pp. 2-3, (2017).
  3. Ritika Gulyani, Educational Policies in India with special reference to the Children with Disabilities, Vol. 47, Indian Anthropologist, 35, pp. 43-51, 2017.
  4. Amritpal Kaur, Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Human Rights: Issues and Responses, Vol. 7, International Journal of Human Rights 1, pp. 4-5.
  5. SS Senjam, Addressing the Health Needs of the People with Disabilities in India, Indian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 64, 79, pp. 80-82, (2020).
Online Articles/Sources:
  1. Disability and Health Overview: Impairments, Activity Limitations and Participation Restrictions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  2. Data Provided By Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India,
  3. Priyanka Gupta, Human Rights and Disability Laws in India, IPleaders,
  4. Martand Jha, The History of India's Disability Rights Movement, the Diplomat,
  5. Souvik Dutta, Working towards a disabled-friendly India, Business India,
  6. Dr. Muhammed Hashim, India more disabled friendly but yet to be fully inclusive, The Indian Express,
  7. Saurabh Rai, India has a long road ahead in becoming a disabled friendly country, Social Story,
  8. Anuradha De, The Paradox of Disability and Education in India, The Impact Initiative,
  9. Asha Kiran Home Scandal, The Times of India,
  10. Javed Abidi, Current Status of the Employment of the Disabled People in the Indian Industries, Disability Information Resources,
  11. Dipti Jain, How disabled friendly are India's citizens, The Mint,
  1. Article 41, The Constitution of India, 1949.
  2. Article 46, The Constitution of India, 1949.
  3. Article 14, The Constitution of India, 1949.
  4. Persons with Disabilities Act (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation).
  5. UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
  6. National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006.
  7. Rights to Persons with Disability Bill, 2016.
  8. National Policy on Education 1986.
  9. Payment of Gratuity Act 1972.
  10. Health and Welfare Act 1986.
  11. Equal Remuneration Act 1976.

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