RIGHTS OF WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES UNDER INDIAN LEGISLATIONS

I AM DIFFERENTLY ABLE

1. INTRODUCTION

Persons with disability are most disadvantaged section of society. They suffer enormous discrimination regarding access to education, employment etc. They often lack the opportunities of mainstream population and are usually among the most marginalized in society. Being female and having a disability, whether serious or not, is usually enough to put the individual in a very disadvantaged situation. Women with physical or mental disability are often denied equal enjoyment of their human rights, in particular by virtue of the lesser status ascribed to them by tradition and custom, or as a result of overt or covert discrimination. The Constitution of India premised on the principle of social justice and human rights. It mandates the State to accord justice and equality to all members of the society in all the facets of human activity. In India there are four other legislations specifically directed towards the protection, welfare, rehabilitation and development of people with disabilities However these enactments are covering all respective issues of disability but remain silent on the discrimination and violence faced by women with disabilities that differentiate their situation from men with disabilities. India has ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 (UNCRPD), in September; 2007, which is emphasizing on issues of multiple discrimination against women with disabilities. Further in order to incorporate the significant provisions enshrined in the UNCRPD (2006) in our national legal frame work Indian parliament has drafted a bill named as “THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL, 2014” [1]

2. Status of Women with Disabilities

Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are among the most vulnerable and marginalized group of society. Despite their significant numbers, they remain hidden and silent, their concerns unknown and their rights unrecognized. Women with disabilities carry society’s cross on their backs and they face triple discrimination because of their disabilities, gender and poverty. They are commonly stereotyped as sick, helpless, childlike, dependent, incompetent and asexual, greatly limiting their options and opportunities. They are subjected to physical, psychological, sexual and financial violence, neglect, social isolation, trafficking, institutionalization, degradation, detention, denial of health care and forced sterilization and forced psychiatric treatment. They are at high risk of gender‐based and other forms of violence based on social stereotypes and biases that attempt to dehumanize them. Violence against them occurs in various spheres, including in the home and the community. The forms of violence to which women and girls with disabilities are subjected are varied and represent intersectional and multiple discrimination based on gender and disability. Across the globe, forced sterilization is performed on young girls and women with disabilities for various purposes, including eugenics-based practices of population control, menstrual management and personal care, and pregnancy prevention (including pregnancy that results from sexual abuse). The practice of forced sterilization has been debated and justified by governments, legal, medical and other professionals, and family members and carers as being in the “best interests” of women and girls with disabilities.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES IN INDIA:

  • Constitutional Provisions

 The Preamble, the Directive Principles of State Policy and the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution stand testimony to the commitment of the State to its people. Although according to Entry 9 in the List II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution, the subject of ‘Relief to the disabled and unemployable’ is the responsibility of the State Governments, in practice, the Central Government also has a major role to play in, this field. The Constitution, while protecting equality under Articles 14, 15 and 16, does not include disability as one of the categories of non-discrimination. Article 14 mandates that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of laws within the territory of India. Article 15 of the Constitution of India prohibits the State from discriminating on the basis of sex. The Article however contains a proviso stating that nothing in this Article should prevent the State from making special provisions for women. Article 16 lays down that the State shall not discriminate on the basis of sex with regard to equality of opportunity in matters of employment. Though the fundamental rights listed above, in a way, do not have a specific mention of the physically handicapped or disabled, yet they do pertain to the socially, economically and educationally backward class of people. [2]

( II) SPECIFIC LEGISLATIONS

  • The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995

The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, shortly called as PWD Act, is the principal and comprehensive legislation concerning disabled persons. It has fourteen chapters dealing with various issues. . According to section 2(t) of the PWD Act, ‘person with disability’ means a person suffering from not less than forty per cent of any disability as certified by a medical authority. Further, the meaning of disability is described in section 2(i) stating that disability means blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, loco motor disability, mental retardation and mental illness. Under this Act Provisions have been made for the prevention of disabilities (Section 25), rehabilitation (Section 56) and social security (Section 66) of the disabled persons. PWD Act defines the responsibilities of Central and State Government with regard to the services for disabled persons. Under section 42, it contains provisions for providing aids and appliances to persons with disabilities by the appropriate Government. Provisions relating to education are contained in chapter V of the Act. But it falls short to cover all the issues relating to rights of persons with disabilities, especially in preventing violence and exploitation against women with disabilities. After the ratification of the UNCRPD in September 2006, the government is under obligation to synchronize laws or legal provisions with the terms of convention. Further in order to incorporate the significant provisions enshrined in the UNCRPD,2006 in our national legal frame work Indian parliament has introduced a bill in 2014 in Rajya Sabha named as “THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL, 2014”

( b ) The Rehabilitation Council of India Act 1992

 Under this act, the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) has been constituted which is the government body, to regulate training programmes and courses targeted at disabled, disadvantaged, and special education requirement communities. It is the only statutory council in India that is required to maintain the Central Rehabilitation Register which mainly documents details of all qualified professionals who operate and deliver training and educational programmes for the targeted communities. In the year 2000, the Rehabilitation Council of India (Amendment) Act, 2000, was introduced and notified consequently by the government of India. The amendment brought definitions and discussions provided within the earlier Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992, under the ambit of a larger act, namely, PWD Act, 1995.

C The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999

As certain groups among the disabled are more vulnerable than others, a special enactment for the protection of such persons, their property and well-being was felt necessary. The enactment of this Act aims to fulfil a common demand of families seeking reliable arrangement for their severely disabled wards. The specific objectives of the Act are to enable and empower persons with disabilities to live as independently and as fully as possible within and as close to the community to which they belong; to promote measures for the care and protection of persons with disabilities in the event of death of their parent or guardian; and to extend support to registered organisations to provide need based services during the period of crisis in the family of disabled covered under this Act.

( d ) The Mental Health Act, 1987

The Mental Health Act predates the human rights emphasis in the nineties. It can be described as a civil rights legislation as it aims to regulate standards in mental health institutions and to make provisions with respect to their property and affairs. From a human rights perspective, it is to protect mentally ill persons from being subject to physical or mental cruelty during treatment.

CONCLUSION

 Women with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and disadvantaged people in the world. The intersection of gender inequality and disability presents a situation of multiple levels of discrimination. They are less likely to be educated, employed and well-housed than almost any other population group. They have not only been invisible in international development frameworks but also in international human rights treaties. Until the adoption of UNCRPD, there was no legally binding international law that explicitly named women and girls with disabilities as requiring protection which has also been ratified by India. A gendered reading of disability law reveals that there is a need to incorporate gender concerns in India. There is a need to adopt such strategies to ensure that women with disabilities are not neglected from policies and programmes.

REFERENCES

http://docs.manupatra.in/newsline/articles/Upload/7102F404-0902-4EEC-BA55-F8EFC25DA6D4.pdf

http://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/women_studies/gender_studies/07._women_and_law/32.__women_and_disability_laws/et/8055_et_et_32.pdf


[1] http://docs.manupatra.in/newsline/articles/Upload/7102F404-0902-4EEC-BA55-F8EFC25DA6D4.pdf

[2] http://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/women_studies/gender_studies/07._women_and_law/32.__women_and_disability_laws/et/8055_et_et_32.pdf

RIGHTS OF WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES UNDER INDIAN LEGISLATIONS

1. INTRODUCTION

Persons with disability are most disadvantaged section of society. They suffer enormous discrimination regarding access to education, employment etc. They often lack the opportunities of mainstream population and are usually among the most marginalized in society. Being female and having a disability, whether serious or not, is usually enough to put the individual in a very disadvantaged situation. Women with physical or mental disability are often denied equal enjoyment of their human rights, in particular by virtue of the lesser status ascribed to them by tradition and custom, or as a result of overt or covert discrimination. The Constitution of India premised on the principle of social justice and human rights. It mandates the State to accord justice and equality to all members of the society in all the facets of human activity. In India there are four other legislations specifically directed towards the protection, welfare, rehabilitation and development of people with disabilities However these enactments are covering all respective issues of disability but remain silent on the discrimination and violence faced by women with disabilities that differentiate their situation from men with disabilities. India has ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 (UNCRPD), in September; 2007, which is emphasizing on issues of multiple discrimination against women with disabilities. Further in order to incorporate the significant provisions enshrined in the UNCRPD (2006) in our national legal frame work Indian parliament has drafted a bill named as “THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL, 2014” [1]

2. Status of Women with Disabilities

Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are among the most vulnerable and marginalized group of society. Despite their significant numbers, they remain hidden and silent, their concerns unknown and their rights unrecognized. Women with disabilities carry society’s cross on their backs and they face triple discrimination because of their disabilities, gender and poverty. They are commonly stereotyped as sick, helpless, childlike, dependent, incompetent and asexual, greatly limiting their options and opportunities. They are subjected to physical, psychological, sexual and financial violence, neglect, social isolation, trafficking, institutionalization, degradation, detention, denial of health care and forced sterilization and forced psychiatric treatment. They are at high risk of gender‐based and other forms of violence based on social stereotypes and biases that attempt to dehumanize them. Violence against them occurs in various spheres, including in the home and the community. The forms of violence to which women and girls with disabilities are subjected are varied and represent intersectional and multiple discrimination based on gender and disability. Across the globe, forced sterilization is performed on young girls and women with disabilities for various purposes, including eugenics-based practices of population control, menstrual management and personal care, and pregnancy prevention (including pregnancy that results from sexual abuse). The practice of forced sterilization has been debated and justified by governments, legal, medical and other professionals, and family members and carers as being in the “best interests” of women and girls with disabilities.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES IN INDIA:

  • Constitutional Provisions

 The Preamble, the Directive Principles of State Policy and the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution stand testimony to the commitment of the State to its people. Although according to Entry 9 in the List II of Schedule 7 of the Constitution, the subject of ‘Relief to the disabled and unemployable’ is the responsibility of the State Governments, in practice, the Central Government also has a major role to play in, this field. The Constitution, while protecting equality under Articles 14, 15 and 16, does not include disability as one of the categories of non-discrimination. Article 14 mandates that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of laws within the territory of India. Article 15 of the Constitution of India prohibits the State from discriminating on the basis of sex. The Article however contains a proviso stating that nothing in this Article should prevent the State from making special provisions for women. Article 16 lays down that the State shall not discriminate on the basis of sex with regard to equality of opportunity in matters of employment. Though the fundamental rights listed above, in a way, do not have a specific mention of the physically handicapped or disabled, yet they do pertain to the socially, economically and educationally backward class of people. [2]

( II) SPECIFIC LEGISLATIONS

  • The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995

The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, shortly called as PWD Act, is the principal and comprehensive legislation concerning disabled persons. It has fourteen chapters dealing with various issues. . According to section 2(t) of the PWD Act, ‘person with disability’ means a person suffering from not less than forty per cent of any disability as certified by a medical authority. Further, the meaning of disability is described in section 2(i) stating that disability means blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, loco motor disability, mental retardation and mental illness. Under this Act Provisions have been made for the prevention of disabilities (Section 25), rehabilitation (Section 56) and social security (Section 66) of the disabled persons. PWD Act defines the responsibilities of Central and State Government with regard to the services for disabled persons. Under section 42, it contains provisions for providing aids and appliances to persons with disabilities by the appropriate Government. Provisions relating to education are contained in chapter V of the Act. But it falls short to cover all the issues relating to rights of persons with disabilities, especially in preventing violence and exploitation against women with disabilities. After the ratification of the UNCRPD in September 2006, the government is under obligation to synchronize laws or legal provisions with the terms of convention. Further in order to incorporate the significant provisions enshrined in the UNCRPD,2006 in our national legal frame work Indian parliament has introduced a bill in 2014 in Rajya Sabha named as “THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL, 2014”

( b ) The Rehabilitation Council of India Act 1992

 Under this act, the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) has been constituted which is the government body, to regulate training programmes and courses targeted at disabled, disadvantaged, and special education requirement communities. It is the only statutory council in India that is required to maintain the Central Rehabilitation Register which mainly documents details of all qualified professionals who operate and deliver training and educational programmes for the targeted communities. In the year 2000, the Rehabilitation Council of India (Amendment) Act, 2000, was introduced and notified consequently by the government of India. The amendment brought definitions and discussions provided within the earlier Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992, under the ambit of a larger act, namely, PWD Act, 1995.

C The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999

As certain groups among the disabled are more vulnerable than others, a special enactment for the protection of such persons, their property and well-being was felt necessary. The enactment of this Act aims to fulfil a common demand of families seeking reliable arrangement for their severely disabled wards. The specific objectives of the Act are to enable and empower persons with disabilities to live as independently and as fully as possible within and as close to the community to which they belong; to promote measures for the care and protection of persons with disabilities in the event of death of their parent or guardian; and to extend support to registered organisations to provide need based services during the period of crisis in the family of disabled covered under this Act.

( d ) The Mental Health Act, 1987

The Mental Health Act predates the human rights emphasis in the nineties. It can be described as a civil rights legislation as it aims to regulate standards in mental health institutions and to make provisions with respect to their property and affairs. From a human rights perspective, it is to protect mentally ill persons from being subject to physical or mental cruelty during treatment.

CONCLUSION

 Women with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and disadvantaged people in the world. The intersection of gender inequality and disability presents a situation of multiple levels of discrimination. They are less likely to be educated, employed and well-housed than almost any other population group. They have not only been invisible in international development frameworks but also in international human rights treaties. Until the adoption of UNCRPD, there was no legally binding international law that explicitly named women and girls with disabilities as requiring protection which has also been ratified by India. A gendered reading of disability law reveals that there is a need to incorporate gender concerns in India. There is a need to adopt such strategies to ensure that women with disabilities are not neglected from policies and programmes.

REFERENCES

http://docs.manupatra.in/newsline/articles/Upload/7102F404-0902-4EEC-BA55-F8EFC25DA6D4.pdf

http://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/women_studies/gender_studies/07._women_and_law/32.__women_and_disability_laws/et/8055_et_et_32.pdf


[1] http://docs.manupatra.in/newsline/articles/Upload/7102F404-0902-4EEC-BA55-F8EFC25DA6D4.pdf

[2] http://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/women_studies/gender_studies/07._women_and_law/32.__women_and_disability_laws/et/8055_et_et_32.pdf

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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