Disability bill 2016; Everything you should know BY Chetan Trivedi, Law Student, Online Intern @LAwOF
THE RIGH OF PERSON WITH DISABILITIES BILL -2016 was passed by both houses Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The Disability Bill 2016 replaces the person with Disability Act 1995. This bill covers 21 conditions instead of 7 disability conditions specified in the act. It also opens up doors for the government to notify any other condition as a disability. This bill was introduced in 2014. At that time the bill had included 19 conditions as a disability but know it has 21 disabilities which are given below-
3. Leprosy Cured persons
7. Intellectual Disability
9.Autism Spectrum Disorder
10. Cerebral Palsy
12.Chronic Neurological conditions
13.Specific Learning Disabilities
15.Speech and Language disability
18.Sickle Cell disease
19Multiple Disabilities including deafblindness
20 .Acid Attack victim
21. Parkinson’s disease
The census of 2011shows that the total number of disabled in India is around 2.68 crore or 2.21% of the population. The bill is expected to make a larger number of people eligible for entitlements and rights by reason of their disability since it covers more disabilities as compared to the 1995 Act.
The bill has a provision of two-years jail term and maximum fine of rs 5 lakhs for any kind of discrimination against differently – abled persons. The rights of persons with disabilities bill was passed by the voice vote after rare unanimity was witnessed among the opposition and treasury benches in the house.
- The bill is the addition of a penalty for violating the rules of the act. No such provision was there in 1995 act. The 2014 bill had maintained that violation of any provision of the act would be punishable with fine of Rs 10,000 and or a jail term of up to 6 months. It also maintained that subsequent violations could attract a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh and or a jail for term of up to 2 years. The current amendments to the bill propose to remove the jail term entirely and only keep fines for breaking the law.
- This bill provides several rights and entitlement which include disabled friendly access to all public buildings and establishments. The amendments were made to include private firms in the definition of establishments.
- The bill also has a provision that individuals with at least 40 percent of a disability are permitted for benefits like reservation in education and employment. And preference would be given to them in government schemes and others. The 1995 law had only 3% reservation for the disabled in higher education institution and government while 2014 bill increased the reservation to 5 %. The amend bill restricted to 4%.
- The bill also laid down provisions in the issues of guardianship of mentally ill persons. The bill states that the district court may award two types of guardianship first- is limited guardian who is to take joint decision with the mentally ill person. The second is the plenary guardian who is to take decisions on behalf of the mentally ill person, without consulting them.
- There is one controversial point in the bill that section 3(3) of the ill has a clause which states that discrimination against a disabled person can be allowed if it is “a proportionate means of achieving legitimate aim”. And the term “legitimate aim” seems open to the subjective interpretation of the bureaucracy.
Rights and entitlements
- Responsibility has been cast upon the appropriate governments to take effective measures to ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
- Additional benefits such as reservation in higher education (not less than 5%), government jobs (not less than 4 %), reservation in allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes (5% allotment) etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
- Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
- Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities.
For strengthening the Prime Minister’s Accessible India Campaign, stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.