Legal experts and eminent jurists have often pointed out to a glaring void in the Indian Constitution, which we all view as the most comprehensive and voluminous among constitutions of the world. Are you wondering what it is?
The glaring miss is that the Indian Constitution did not incorporate provisions that are specific and necessary for the education and rehabilitation of disabled persons in India.
As per the report of the National Sample Survey Organization 2002 on 'Disabled Persons in India,' 55% persons with disabilities were illiterate. In a democratic country like India, this is an unacceptable fact and a glaring social lapse.
While eminent social and legal activists have called upon the need for mainstreaming disabled children into the general education system in India, we still have far to go before it can be a reality. Inclusive education remains more of a vision on whitepapers and a top agenda on school board meetings but very few educational institutions in the country move forward on implementing this.
The following are some of the disability related laws in India:
The Mental Health Act 1987
This law pertains to the treatment and care of mentally ill persons, to make better provision with respect to their property and affairs and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Rehabilitation Council Act of India (RCI, 1992)
This disability related law provides for the constitution of the Rehabilitation Council of India for regulating the training of rehab professionals and also for maintaining a Central Rehabilitation Register and other related issues.
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Full Participation and Protection Rights) Act of 1995This disability related law stipulates to set up a Central Coordination Committee and a Central Executive Committee at the national level, besides other things such as appointment of various functionaries throughout different states to ensure implementation of its provisions.
The National Trust (For Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities) Act 1999
This Trust aims to provide total care to persons who suffer from mental retardation, cerebral palsy and autism. The Trust supports programmes that promotes the independence and addresses the concern of special persons who have no means of family support.
What are your thoughts on India's disability laws? Are they effective or toothtless? What social or legal initiatives can help us move forward on its implementations? Are there any interesting case laws from across the world that we can take inspiration from?
It would be great to hear your thoughts on this. Do write in to me.