Monday, February 21, 2005

Disability Rights in India

See this article from the Times of India. Some excerpts:

And, Justice Shah set the ball rolling for a brain storming discussion when he too stressed the need to amend the said Act. "The definition of disability as given in 1995 Act needs to be widen to protect the rights of people suffering from HIV, leprosy and internal organ failure," he said.

Currently the Act gives protection to those suffering from, blindness, low vision, leprosy cured, hearing impaired, mental retardation, mental illness and locomotor disability.

Justice Shah pointed out that there are 600 million people in the world, nearly ten percent of the world's population, who suffer from one disability or the other. Of these, 90 million are from India. However, even then, the total percentage of the disabled people in India is just six per cent of its population while in the developed nation like USA the disabled population's percentage is nine per cent.

" This is not because there are more disabled persons in USA but because the definition of disability is more wider in USA," Justice Shah said.

Besides limited scope, there are some other lacunas in the act too, Justice Shah observed adding "There are no guidelines and no deadlines set for non adherence,".

Elaborating, Justice Shah pointed out that most government and semi-government organisations do not strictly follow the guidelines to reserve three per cent jobs for disabled and yet they go unpunished.

Also, as per the Act the compensation is to be awarded to a disabled as per the financial capacity of the employer. The employers often take advantage of this clause. Also, a provision to award some temporary relieves, till the case is decided, to the affected (disabled) employee needs to be incorporated.


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