The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013 approved by the Union Cabinet in mid-December 2013 suffers from glaring legal infirmities and is a complete volte-face from the Bill originally drafted after consulting disability organisations across the country, opined Dr Faizan Mustafa, vice-chancellor of Nalsar University.
According to a press release, the Bill brought back the erstwhile concept of offering only some ‘identified posts’ to the disabled which restricts their employment opportunities. ‘’After a long struggle, the National Federation of the Blind got the Supreme Court of India to rule that the job reservations would apply to all posts. But, this Bill has brought back the concept of identified posts for disabled which clearly steers away from the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability,” it stated.
It may be recalled that the University has served as the consultant to the committee appointed by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in 2010 to draft a new Disability Rights Bill. Due to the proposed Bill’s ‘incoherence of vision’ the University distanced itself from the present form of the Bill and urged the Centre to return to original draft finalised after consultative process.
The University believes that excessive powers vested with the guardians of the disabled persons, in the Bill approved by the Union Cabinet, will only result in lifelong slavery of disabled persons under the thrall of powerful guardian. ‘’The right to take one’s own decision to do what makes one happy is integral to personhood. However, this right is routinely denied to persons especially suffering from intellectual, psychosocial and development disabilities,” it averred.