On 28 November 2018, a State Level Workshop on the Role of the State Government in the Development of Women and Children with Disabilities was organized by the Karnataka State Disabled Organization / Institutions Federation. The aim of the workshop was to discuss and deliberate on various issues facing women and children with disabilities such as education, economic issues and rehabilitation. The Centre for Policy and Legal Research participated in the workshop where Deekshitha Ganesan, Research Associate spoke about the legal issues pertaining to women and children with disabilities. The focus of the discussion was on the rights of women and children with disabilities under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (2016 Act) and the issues they face under the present legal regime.
The discussion opened with an overview of the legal rights available to women and children with disabilities under the Constitution of India, 1950 and the 2016 Act. Thereafter, the discussion focused on specific measures provided under the 2016 Act for the benefit of women such as rebates on interest from micro-finance institutions, priority in allotment of land, housing, poverty alleviation and developmental schemes. Further, the group discussed the sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities, particularly the right against invasive surgeries leading to infertility as well as issues related to abortion, where it was pointed out that the woman’s consent is mandatory and paramount for such procedures.
On the rights of children with disabilities, Deekshitha highlighted that children with disabilities have the right to free education and right to remain with parents. She stressed on the special measures to be taken by the State to make education more inclusive for children with disabilities such as providing transportation facilities, making textbooks accessible and providing scholarships to children with disabilities. Further, the group discussed the framework of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2016 with respect to children with disabilities. Finally, Deekshitha stressed on the importance of obtaining disability certificates and identity cards under the 2016 Act so enable women and children with disabilities to access the special measures and schemes that have been provided for their benefit.