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

There has been serious opposition from the disability rights movement to the current draft of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (RPD bill) and the government’s resolve to pass it during the ongoing session of Parliament. I will focus on two main problems with the bill, though this does not mean that it is acceptable in other respects.

 

The two concerns that I highlight, however, go to the root of the issue of equal protection and full participation of persons with disabilities.

 

The main drawback of the Persons with the Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act (PWD act), 1995, which is currently in force, is that it defines a person with disability as someone who has 40 percent or more of any of the seven enumerated disabilities — blindness, low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental illness, mental retardation, and leprosy. This definition stems from a medical model of disability and is highly problematic.

Cite:

Jayna Kothari, 'At a Standstill : Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is not a meaningful improvement on its precursor' (12 Feb 2014) <https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/at-a-standstill/ > accessed on 15 Sep 2019