Disabilities can be physical in nature, cognitive, behavioural, or even emotional. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. People with disabilities all over the world experience human rights violations, stigma and discrimination. To have a disability means that one has fundamental difficulty accomplishing things that others take for granted. There are many social factors that can affect whether or not individuals with disabilities are included or excluded from participation on various activities, which in turn can affect development or esteem. Disability is thus just not a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.
MEANING OF DISABILITTY
Disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's lifetime.
Constitutional Rights of Disabled Persons
Prohibition of Discrimination
Article 15 is a manifestation of “Right to Equality” under article 14, as it enshrines a specific dimension of the principles of equality relating to discrimination by state or various grounds . Under article 15 the protection extends only to citizens , unlike article 14 which protects ‘ any person’ . Thus in application article 15 protects from discriminatory state activities but the ambit of article 15 is narrower than that of article 14.
Article 15 of the Indian constitution deals with “prohibition of discrimination” on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
Article 15(2) says, no citizen shall on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subjected to any disabilities liability restriction or condition with regard to:
- (a) Access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or
- (b) The use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of the state funds dedicated to the use of the general public.
Equity In Social, Economic And Cultural Rights
Article 25 says recognizes the “right of a person with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity , state parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning.” They considered constitution to grant education to children with disabilities if they explicitly guarantee the right to education , the right to free education, or the right to compulsory education to children with disabilities or prohibit discrimination in education on the basis if disability. Globally only 28% of the countries provide some type of constitutional guarantee of educational rights or the children with disabilities.
Right To Work
Article 27 instructs states to “recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the rights to opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities.
Right To Liberty
Article 14 instructs state parties to guarantee people with disabilities the right to liberty and security of person. We considered the right to liberty to be guaranteed to persons with disabilities if they were explicitly granted the right to freedom or liberty. Globally, only 9% of the constitution explicitly guarantee the right to liberty to persons with disabilities. However 19% of the constitution specifies that the right to liberty can be denied to persons with the mental health condition.
Right to Freedom of Expression
Article 21, states that to “take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion include the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communications of their choice.”
INTERNATIONAL HUMANRIGHTS (UN CHARTER)
The United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is an international human rights instrument, which intends to protect the dignity and rights of individuals with disabilities. Article 55 says that With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well being which are necessary for the peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination of people's, the United Nations s shall promote:
- Higher standard of living , full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development.
- solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems and international cultural and educational cooperation.
- Universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.
Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons
The Declaration of the Rights of Disabled persons was a declaration of the General Assembly of the United Nations made on 9 Dec 1975. It is the 3447th resolution made by the Assembly. No discrimination, equality of opportunity, equality between women and men, effective participation in society, accessibility, respect for children with disabilities to preserve their identities and acceptance and respect for individuals with disabilities Disabled persons have the right to live with their families or with foster parents and to participate in all social, creative or recreational activities. Disabled persons shall be protected against all exploitation and treatment of a discriminatory, abusive or degrading nature.
Provisions of the Declaration
- 1. The definition of “disabled person" as anyone who cannot ensure the necessities of a normal individual and or social life as a result of deficiency in physical or mental capabilities.
- 2. A non discrimination clause applying the Rights to all disabled persons regardless of " race , colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions , national or social origin , state of wealth, birth " or other situation
- 3. Statement regarding disabled persons right to respect for their human dignity.
Rights of Disabled Persons in India
Persons with disabilities are one of the most neglected sections of our nation. This is due to the sheer indifference of the society which subjects such people to disapproval and antipathy. Such people have several rights under various Indian laws as well as UN conventions that are followed in India. Under section 2(i) of Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995,"disability" includes blindness, low vision, leprosy cured, hearing impairment, locomotors disability, mental retardation and mental illness.
It is the most basic document that a disabled person should possess in order to avail certain benefits and concessions. The State Medical Boards established under the State governments can issue a disability certificate to any person with more than 40% disability.
People who are above 18 years of age, suffering with more than 80% disability and are living below the poverty line are entitled to the disability pension under the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme. Various NGOs are dedicated to this because i.e. they help such persons with disabilities to get their disability pension.
In government jobs, 3% of the seats are reserved for persons with disabilities.
Income Tax Concession
Under sections 80D and 80U of Income Tax Act, 1961, persons with disabilities are also entitled to certain income tax concessions.
Person with Disabilities Act 1995
The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 had come into enforcement on Feb 7, 1996. It is a significant step which ensures equal opportunities for the people with disabilities and their full participation in the nation building. The Act provides for both the preventive and promotional aspects of rehabilitation like education , employment and vocational training, reservation , research and manpower development and rehabilitation of persons with disability , unemployment allowance for the disabled persons.
Main Provisions of the Act
- 1. Prevention and Early Detection of Disabilities
- 2. Education
- 3. Employment
- 4. Non discrimination
- 5. Social Security
- 6. Research and manpower development
- 7. Grievance Redress
In Jared Abiding v. Union of India the supreme Court bearing in mind the discomfort and harassment suffering by a person of loco motor so disability would face while travelling by train particularly too far off places issued directions to the Indian Airlines to grant persons suffering from locomotors so disability to the extent of 80%.
In National Federation of blind v . UPSC The Supreme Court held that, UPSC may be directed to allow blind persons for appearing the examinations for Indian administrative and allied Services.
Policies In India
National policy for persons with disabilities, 2006. The Government of India formulated the national Policy for persons with disabilities in Feb 2006 which deals with the physical , educational and economic rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
The National Policy recognise the Persons with Disabilities are valuable human resources for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society . Some of the aspects which the policy focuses on Prevention of Disabilities, Rehabilitation Measures, Women with disabilities , Children with disabilities, The Government needs to launch more social security schemes for disabled sections and generate more employment opportunities for them . Several schemes and benefits conference on the disabled persons has come up as relief and has successfully served to provide equal opportunities to the disabled section