Equality Bill 2021: Takes a New Step in Addressing Discrimination, Recognising Intersectionality & Promoting Equality.

January 8, 2021

CLPR’s draft Equality Bill 2021 takes a new step in addressing discrimination experienced by people on the basis of caste, gender, religion, transgender and intersex identity, disability and other grounds. It aims to promote equality, prohibit different types of discriminatory conduct, provide adequate civil remedies and set up fora for redressal that are accessible and effective in addressing discrimination.


The Intersection of Disability and Caste

July 20, 2020 | Jayna Kothari | Almas Shaikh | Aj Agrawal

This Policy paper explores the importance of the intersections of disability and caste. The authors argue that to address the fulfillment of basic social rights of employment, education, housing & health for the most vulnerable, there is need to look at people from inter sectional perspective. The Policy paper also recommends empirical research and data collection to understand depth of the socio-economic deprivation faced by Dalits/Adivasi persons with disabilities, need of inter sectional approach in policy and welfare schemes, need of Anti-discrimination law and also for social movements to work together for overall welfare of marginalized sections of the society.


After deleting Section 309

December 22, 2014 | Jayna Kothari

The article critically examines the basis of the decision of the Supreme Court to strike down section 309. Further, the author argues for the need for policy initiative, better access mental health care, and recognition of mental health care and health rights as a necessity for those contemplating and committing suicide.


The Right to Health of Persons with Disabilities in India

July 31, 2014 | Jayna Kothari

This Report examines the state of the right to health for persons with disabilities in India from the perspective of “equal access” and “non-discrimination.” It is based on an empirical study conducted by CLPR on the experiences of persons with disabilities in accessing healthcare. In addition to the empirical study, it also draws on the insight gathered from four zonal and one national consultation meetings organized by CLPR on disability rights. The outcomes from the consultations have been referenced in this paper. This Report was prepared for Human Rights Law Network, Indian Association of Muscular Dystrophy and National Alliance on Access to Justice for People Living with Mental Illness.


Disabilities of our democracy

April 25, 2014 | Jayna Kothari

In this article published in The Hindu, Jayna Kothari and David Seidenberg argue that when an electoral system structurally discriminates against particular categories such as persons with disabilities, it is tantamount to a failure of the democracy as a whole.


The invisible voter

April 14, 2014 | Jayna Kothari

The author alludes to the 2004 Supreme Court order in Disability Rights Group v. Election Commission (EC) which had directed the Election Commission to facilitate favourable voting conditions in all states for persons with disability. The author contends that despite the EC’s immediate directive to all state commissions to comply with this order, the actual level of accessibility in voting has not improved. The author proposes technology solutions like voting through mobiles for easy exercise of the right to vote by persons with serious disabilities.


Ensure Disabled get Voting Facilities

April 2, 2014 | Jayna Kothari

In this article, the authors stress on the necessity of ensuring an enabling atmosphere for disabled persons to exercise their fundamental right to vote, which is an essential aspect of democracy. They urge that electoral participation should go beyond the installation of ramps at polling booths, in order to make polling sites accessible.


National Resources Kit for Persons with Disabilities

March 31, 2014

CLPR in collaboration with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) put together the National Resources Kit for Persons with Disabilities. This resource kit was prepared in order to facilitate access to relevant information for all stakeholders. This was done with the aim of ensuring meaningful participation of disabled individuals in governance.


CLPR and CIS Report on Enabling Elections: Making the elections participatory and accessible for PWDs

March 28, 2014 | Jayna Kothari

In light of the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha elections, CLPR in collaboration with the Centre for Internet and Society, has prepared a Report titled “Enabling Elections: Making the 2014 General Elections Participatory and Accessible for Voters with Disabilities”. This Report addresses the barriers that voters with disabilities face during elections and recommends solutions for the same. A representative democracy is defined by its access to voting and full participation in the political affairs of the country equally for all its citizens, which includes voters with disabilities. This report analyses the legal framework on the rights of persons with disabilities with respect to free and fair elections and argues that the State is constitutionally mandated to enforce this right. The Report examines the relevant provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951, the Constitution, the relevant directions of the Supreme Court of India and the international conventions.


At a Standstill : Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is not a meaningful improvement on its precursor

February 12, 2014 | Jayna Kothari

The Rights to Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 was meant to be a substantial improvement over the existing Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation), Act, 1995. However, this article highlights in two crucial ways how the Bill fails to make a meaningful departure from the existing legislation. Firstly it retains the medical model of disability and does not acknowledge the role of the social environment is disabling certain individuals. Secondly, it does not put any obligations on the private sector to reserve jobs for the disabled.


Denying the disabled.

November 15, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

SINCE 1996, when the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PWD Act), came into force, by far the majority of cases taken to court have been about equal opportunity in public employment, that is, reservation of jobs for persons with disabilities and related matters such as promotions, identification of posts and eligibility. This struggle is in many ways not that different from the caste and gender battles for affirmative action in government employment.

Closing the care-gap

September 4, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

The new Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, based on the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and moves the current mental health care law from a medical to a social model based on human rights. Some of the progressive aspects of the new bill include the recognition of the legal capacity of persons with psycho-social disabilities and of advance directives, as well as the protection of the rights to equality and dignity. But the bill also has several conditions that could negate the guarantee of these rights. In this respect, the bill has been debated intensely within the disability community. Widely speaking, the need to decriminalise attempts to suicide have been considered by the courts, but only from the perspective of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, not from a mental health perspective. By recognising the link between suicide rates and mental health, the bill is progressive in that it imposes a duty on the government to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation for a person with a mental illness and who has attempted suicide. However, the bill does not give any guidelines on how care and treatment should be provided for such vulnerable persons.


Working Paper: Moving Towards Autonomy and Equality: An Analysis of the New Mental Health Care Bill, 2012

January 1, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

India ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 (UNCRPD) and the Optional Protocol to it in 2007. The UNCRPD‘s objective is to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities from a social model unlike the earlier medical model of disability. It ensures that persons with disabilities become holders of rights rather than being objects of welfare measures and medical treatment (UN et al 2007). To that extent, ―the UNCRPD marks a paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities and views them not as objects of charity, ‘but subjects with rights'(Murthy 2010: 153).


Working Draft of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2010: Does it Exceed its Mandate in Including Provisions Relation to other Disability Legislations?

February 24, 2011

CLPR, in collaboration with Centre for Internet and Society and Inclusive Planet, published comments on the Working Draft of Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2010. Following this, CLPR also prepared a Note that critically reviewed the authorities under the proposed Act.

This is a brief Note on the Working Draft of the Persons with Disabilities Act dated 1.12.2010 (“Working Draft”) on the specific issue of how it relates to the three other disability legislations being the National Trusts Act 1999, the Mental Health Act 1987 and the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992. From the Working Draft it is seen that there are several provisions which are contradictory to some of the provisions in these three legislations in significant ways. This Note also raises concerns as to whether the Working Draft has exceeded its mandate given by the Committee to only amend the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (“PWD Act”) by attempting to draft a comprehensive disability law which includes even the other disability legislations.

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National Federation Of The Blind v. State Government Of Karnataka & Anr.

August 22, 2022 | Sriraksha V Srivatsav

CLPR on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, filed a PIL – W.P. No. 20317/2021 before the Karnataka High Court to ensure that a comprehensive transfer policy is formulated by the government to enable people with disabilities to work without discrimination and to provide them reasonable accommodation as mandated under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (“RPwD Act”).

Nimmi Alphonsa Joseph v. State of Kerala

October 27, 2021

The petitioner, Nimmi Alphonsa Joseph is a person with visual disability, having low vision from the OBC category and is desirous of securing a medical seat. The writ petition was filed in the High Court of Kerala. This writ petition is filed by the Petitioner who is affected by the inaction of the Respondents, as they have not provided admission and reservation for persons with disabilities in Undergraduate Medical Courses.

M. Raghavendra v. Karnataka State Consumer Redressal Disputes Mechanism

October 22, 2021 | Deepika Hungenahally

The Petitioner, in this case, is M. Raghavendra, a visually impaired person with low vision and holding a post-graduate degree of M.A. in Political Science from the Karnataka State Open University. M. Raghavendra (‘Petitioner’)  challenged the actions of the Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, as it did not provide reservation for persons with disability as mandated under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full protection) Act 1955 (‘PwD Act’) while filing up vacancies to the posts of President and Members of various District Consumer Disputes Redressal.


Apr 2019

CLPR | Sexual and Reproductive Rights in India | Social Movements and Legal Battles

Venue Bangalore International Centre

Time 9.30 AM - 5.00 PM

This conference aims to bring together prominent Sexual & Reproductive Rights (SRR) activists, academics and lawyers to evaluate the past, present and future of SRR work in India. Our objective is to draw attention to the issues that are often implicitly or explicitly excluded from the ambit of SRR.

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Feb 2019

NSLR | Symposium on Law & Public Health

Venue NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad -- 500101

Time 9.00 AM - 6.30 PM

On 16th and 17th February 2019, NSLR will hold its 1st Symposium. NSLR is the Student Law Review at NALSAR University of Law. The Symposium aims to improve the visibility and effectiveness of law as a tool to protect and promote public health in India from a human rights perspective.

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Bar and Bench

Karnataka HC directs KPSC, State to consider granting extra time of 20 mins per hour to visually impaired students

September 2, 2020

Bar & Bench reported on the High Court of Karnataka’s direction to the KPSC and the State government where they asked authorities to consider granting 20 mins extra per hour to visually impaired students. The Court gave the direction while hearing the petition filed by National Federation of the Blind, represented by Senior Counsel Jayna Kothari

Deccan Herald

Justice remains elusive: medical negligence

March 23, 2019

Reshma Ravishanker interview Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari for the Deccan Herald on medical negligence. Ms. Kothari explains the legal process for persons seeking to receive compensation for medical negligence.

The New Indian Express

Differently-abled get Karnataka High Court relief in reservation for LPG distributorship

February 10, 2018

On 10th Feb 2018 the Karnataka High Court stayed all proceedings with respect to the allotment of 238 LPG distributorships in the state by the Indian Oil Corporation. A division bench of acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar stayed the post-notification proceedings after hearing the PIL filed by Karnataka Rajya Vikalachetanara Rakshana Samiti who claimed that no statutory reservation was provided to differently-abled people. Jayna Kothari, counsel of the petitioner, contended that IOC had reserved only 6 positions for the disabled, which amounted to less than 3 percent of the total distributorships, which did not comply with the 5 per cent mandated under Section 37 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.


Mental Health In India: Toss The Taboo

October 1, 2017

Jayna Kothari was one of the panelists in this episode of ‘We The People’ which discussed mental health in Indian society.

According to the World Health Organisation, India is the most depressed country in the world with 36 per cent of citizens battling depression or other mental health issues. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people. Adding to the grim picture is the almost negligible size of mental health care sector with just three psychiatrists per million Indians. On this edition of We The People, we ask: Is it time we acknowledged the existence of a looming threat to India’s young demographic in the form of severe mental crises? Can a measly expenditure of 0.06% of the health budget tackle this growing menace?

Blog Post Submission Policy & Guidelines

June 30, 2021 | Ritambhara Singh

CLPR welcomes original contributions which provide high-quality analysis of recent constitutional law and human rights developments in India and across the globe, including case law, current litigation, legislation, policy-making, and activism.

Disability Rights to Disability Justice: India’s Case for a Transition

September 2, 2020 | Almas Shaikh

There are two competing, often overlapping, movements regarding persons with disabilities – disability rights and disability justice. The former focuses on securing equal opportunities and equal rights for all people with disabilities, while the latter is a framework that examines disability and ableism as it relates to other forms of oppression and identity. “Disability justice” is a term coined by the black, brown, queer, and trans members of the original Disability Justice Collective, founded in 2005 by Patty Berne, Mia Mingus, Stacey Milbern, Leroy Moore, Eli Clare, and Sebastian Margaret.

Equality Bill 2019 | May 15th Consultation

June 11, 2019 |

On 15th May, we organised a consultation on our Equality Bill 2019 (“Bill”) in Hyderabad. The CLPR team presented the provisions of the Bill and sought suggestions, inputs and feedback from the participants, which included various academics and members of civil society organisations working with marginalised groups. This blog post presents the key points of the consultation.