Nalsar University disapproves of new disability law

Says bill suffers from 'legal infirmities'

The Nalsar University of Law here has distanced itself from the new Disability Rights Bill approved by the Cabinet last month saying it suffers from “glaring legal infirmities”.

The university had served as a consultant to the committee appointed by the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in 2010 to draft the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013.

Vice-Chancellor Faizan Mustafa said the bill was a complete “volte-face” from the one originally drafted after consulting various organisations across the country working for the rights of persons with disability.

“The bill has 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 to rule that 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,” the vice-chancellor said.

Due to the ‘incoherence of vision’ in the bill, Nalsar has decided to distance itself from the present form of the legislation. It has also urged the Centre to return to the original draft finalised after a wide consultative process.

The university believes that excessive powers vested with the guardians of the disabled persons will only result in lifelong slavery under the thrall of a 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, psycho-social and development disabilities,” he said.

The Cabinet cleared the disability law, raising the reservation for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) from 3 per cent to 5 per cent. The disabled will get the benefit at all government educational institutions and jobs. Titled the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013, the new law will replace the archaic PWD Bill of 1995.

Till now, the reservation for the disabled was only 3 per cent in the ratio of 1 per cent each for the physically, visually and hearing-impaired.

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