Showing posts with label Disabilities Act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disabilities Act. Show all posts

Monday, October 12, 2015

Supreme Court of India fumes at Several states silent on implementation of Disabilities Act

4th Sep, 2015

Bringing into focus the plight of disabled people, the Supreme Court today fumed at several states not filing responses as to steps taken to implement various provisions of the Disability Act.

In April , the apex court had issued notices to the Centre and all states on a plea seeking periodic monitoring of implementation of various provisions of the Disabilities Act. But ten states including Delhi Rajasthan, jharkhand have not yet filed responses.

An angry bench headed by justice Dipak Misra told lawyers representing several states: “let the matter now be posted for October 13. We are giving last chance to all states to file their responses. In the event of further failure strict action will be taken”. The plea states that a majority of citizens belonging to disabled  category have not got any relief even two decades after the rules were passed.

Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation, on whose petition the court has been issuing orders for the welfare of the differently-abled since 1998, had moved an application saying that unless there was an effective monitoring system on the lines of Vineet Narain judgment in which the SC is keeping a tab on investigation of various corruption cases and issuing periodic directions, the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, will merely remain on paper.

Ambar Qamaruddin, the lawyer for the petitioner, pointed out that the court itself had last year observed that only the Centre, some states and the UGC had satisfied it on the implementation of the rules.

A majority of the states were yet to comply with it and thus, the need for a monitoring mechanism.

“Even in last year’s order, the court had said all measures had to be taken ‘positively by the end of 2014’ but nothing had happened,” Qamaruddin submitted.

“Central government, state governments and UTs may be directed to file a quarterly/half yearly status report before the court,” he argued.

The directions pertained to reservation of 1% of identified teaching posts in various schools and colleges for the disabled, jobs in private sectors and PSUs, seats for students in various universities and creating special
facilities for differently-abled persons at public places such as railway stations, bus terminus, airports and in trains, buses and aircraft.

Directing that all measures be taken by the end of 2014, the court had in its order in March, 2014, said: “The beneficial provisions of the 1995 Act cannot
be allowed to remain only on paper for years and thereby defeating the very purpose of such law and legislative policy.

“As a matter of fact, the role of the governments in the matter such as this has to be proactive. In the matters of providing relief to those who are differently-abled,
the approach and attitude of the executive must be liberal and relief oriented and not obstructive or lethargic.

“A little concern for this class who are differently-abled can do wonders in their life and help them stand on their own and not remain on mercy of others.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Extend legal protetction for impairments not covered under the PwD Act 1995 - mandate of SC

Please refer to earlier post titled "SC directs the Govt. to give suitable jobs to employees with Mental Illness" dated 19 August 2012. Here is the coverage on the issue from The Hindu.


The case of the 1977-batch Indian Administrative Service officer, whose compulsory retirement on grounds of  disability the Supreme Court has overturned, sets a strong precedent on the codification of protections against contingencies that arise during service. A two-judge bench upheld Anil Kumar Mahajan’s appeal against an earlier  decision that sought to curtail his tenure by five years. Interpreting the 1995 law on disabilities, the bench ruled that those who acquire an impairment while in service had to be accommodated in a position appropriate to their current condition. Where such adjustment was not available, the government was obliged to retain them in a supernumerary status, pending the identification of one, until the age of superannuation. The message emanating from the judgment is unambiguous, even if only a fraction of the disabled, estimated at nearly 10 per cent of India’s population, is in formal employment. It is relevant no less to the large numbers rendered severely impaired for life on account of the notoriously high rates of road accidents, not to mention industrial mishaps. The verdict also drives home the necessity, both within the administration and beyond, to recognize disability as a dimension of social diversity. To the extent that this is a relatively new reality, reflected in the workplace and several walks of life, public and private institutions would have to become responsive. It is hard to conceive of a more effective advocacy on disability than policies of accommodation that can potentially counter prevailing prejudice and stereotypes.

As regards recruitment under the Union Public Service Commission, a number of persons with different disabilities have begun to join the ranks in recent times. In fact, the question of identification of suitable placements across different services has come into the spotlight, illustrating the need to fashion a comprehensive approach on the absorption of new appointees. The landmark verdict, if anything, underscores yet again the urgent need for Parliament to enact fresh legislation in this area. This is imperative following India’s ratification, way back in 2007, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is the way forward on extending legal protection for categories of impairments that are not covered under the current law and give fresh impetus to realise the goals of inclusive education. The newly constituted department of disability affairs in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment should strive towards bringing the law-making process to fruition at the earliest. For, every single day lost to procedural delays affects the life prospects of millions.

Source: The Hindu

Thursday, April 26, 2012

ICAI imposes arbitrary Writers / Scribes Conditions for Students with Disabilities

Dear Colleagues,
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is organizing its annual exams starting 03rd May 2012. It has provided “INSTRUCTIONS TO EXAMINEES – MAY, 2012” at link: http://220.227.161.86/26540exam15942.pdf. These instructions are utterly silent on the conditions for  Scribes allowed for Persons with Disabilities as per law, though they are exhaustive on other conditions to be met /observed for the examination.

This time the candidates with disabilities have been surreptitiously sent a three page document titled “Guidelines and Procedure to be followed regarding granting of Writer/ Extra Time to the Differently Abled Candidates”. Coincidentally, this document has not been provided  on the Institute website though is purported to have been adopted by Examination Committee during January 2012 and effective from May 2012 examinations. 

These impugned guidelines are illogical, arbitrary and work against the spirit of The Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 that aims to ensure equal opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full participation of persons with disabilities since they insist the following conditions among others:
  1. The writer should not be above 20 years of age as on the date of commencement of a particular examination for which the writer’s assistance would be utilized by a candidate (for instance 02nd May 2012 for May 2012 CA Examinations)
  2. The writer should be the same person for all the papers of an examination and no request for change of writer shall be permitted.
  3. The writer should not be a relative of the candidate for whom he / she is acting as a writer.
The students with disabilities are in shock as they can not meet such arbitrary guidelines forced upon them. However, most students are not willing to come openly  against the institute for fear of a backlash which may spoil their career.


None of the earlier guideline (for 2007 or 2010 exams) which are available on the ICAI’s website at link: http://www.icai.org/new_post.html?post_id=639 do not contain any of such arbitrary and illogical conditions. The conditions put forth are unreasonable & discriminatory against persons with disabilities and defy the objective and mandate of the Disabilities Act.

I have been approached by several students who have failed to find writers below the age of 20 and are most likely to fall in to trap of missing their examinations despite their good preparation for the same.

Also since this is an exam season and most teen-aged students who may be eligible to act as writer as per the eligibility condition put forth by the new guideline,  are busy in their exams hence it is next to impossible to meet such a unreasonable guideline. Moreover, the relatives have been barred from acting as a writer. I am wondering as to who would then come forward to help (even at a cost!) to write for them. They are bound to fail due to lack of level playing field!

The condition that write should be same for all the papers spread over a length of period is also a detrimental to the interest of the examinee  since the teenager, who may agree to write the exam for the disabled student may have his own exam clashing. Then most students in graduation second or third year are more than 20 years.

Such attitude with the students with disabilities is an open discrimination and a discouragement for them to enroll for the course and not only is against the mandate of the Disabilities Act but also Article 14 of the Constitution of India that ensures equality to all. The names of the students have been withheld on their request since they fear revengeful action on the part of ICAI.

I have taken up the matter with the Chief Commissioner- Disabilities and hope that good sense will prevail over the ICAI and they would withdraw the unreasonable guideline.


If you remember, recently, several organisations working for the Persons with disabilities in India (especially Low Vision and Blind), to which I have been a party myself, have suggested an exhaustive document titled "Uniform Guidelines for Conducting Examinations (Practicals and/or Theory) for Blind and Low Vision Persons". These have been sent to Ministry of Social Justice for their acceptance. In all probability these would be accepted since the content is the revised edition of the draft guidelines discussed in the Meeting of the State Commissioners Disabilities in the year 2008, if I correctly remember hence has a principal approval from the authorities.


I suggest the ICAI to accept these guidelines in toto for implementation in all their examinations (including the one in May 2012) and take a lead in being the first progressive and disabled friendly institution of the Government of India.


regards,
Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Advocate- Disability Rights