The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 was enacted to give effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto which was ratified by India in the year 2007. The new Act, which repealed and replaced the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, provides for a more comprehensive set of rights, duties and safeguards for persons with disabilities in India.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 categorizes three types of disabled persons as

  • Person with benchmark disability- a person with not less than forty percent of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority. (Section 2(r))
  • Person with disability – long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others. (Section 2(s))
  • Person with disability having high support needs- a person with benchmark disability certified under clause (a) of sub-section (2) of Section 58 who needs high support. (Section 2(t))

The Act ensures the protection and empowerment of the disabled by recognizing and granting the following rights: The right to equality, life with dignity and respect for his or her integrity equally with others, right against discrimination on the ground of disability and, the right to personal Liberty. (Section 3)

  • The right to live in the community. (Section 5)
  • The right to not be subject to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and of any research without his/her free and informed consent. (Section 6)
  • The right against abuse, violence and exploitation. (Section 7)
  • The right to equal protection and safety in situations of risk, armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters. (Section 8)
  • The right to reproduction against any medical procedure which leads a disabled person to infertility without his or her free and informed consent. (Section 10)
  • The right to access any court, tribunal, authority, commission or any other body having judicial or quasi-judicial or investigative powers without discrimination on the basis of disability in accordance with The National Legal Services Authority and the State Legal Services Authorities constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (39 of 1987). (Section 12)
  • The right to own or inherit property, movable or immovable, control their financial affairs and have access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit by promoting the right to equal recognition in all aspects of life, everywhere as any other person before the law. (Section 13)
  • The right of persons with disabilities to have an adequate standard of living to enable them to live independently or in the community.
  • The right to have a cultural life and to participate in recreational activities equally with others. (Section 29)
  • The right to free education for every child with a benchmark disability between the age of six to eighteen years in a neighborhood school, or in a special school, of his choice.(Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (35 of 2009) (Section 31)
  • Not less than five per cent. seats to be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities and upper age relaxation of five years for admission in institutions of all government and other higher education. (Section 32)

Punishment for Contravention of aforesaid Provisions:

  • Any person who violates provisions under the Act thereunder shall be punishable with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees and for any subsequent contravention with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees. (Section 89)
  • Any person who insults, voluntarily injures, assaults, dishonors, humiliates or abuses any disabled persons shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine. (Section 92)

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