The Ministry of Law and Justice has notified the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, in the Official Gazette and it has come into force. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, now stands repealed. Both the Houses of Parliament had passed the Bill in the winter session of the Parliament. Salient features of the Act, can be read in this Live Law report.
The Act has categorised Persons with Disabilities into three categories:
person with disability person with benchmark disability person with disability having high support needs
“person with disability” is defined as “a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others”;
“person with benchmark disability” means “a person with not less than forty per cent of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority.”
Further, the Act also defines “person with disability having high support needs” means a person with benchmark disability certified under clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 58 who needs high support”.
Special Courts will be designated in each district for providing speedy trial. The Act also makes the following acts punishable with imprisonment for a term, which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine: intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a person with disability in any place within public view; assaults or uses force to any person with disability with intent to dishonour him or outrage the modesty of a woman with disability; having the actual charge or control over a person with disability voluntarily or knowingly denies food or fluids to him or her; being in a position to dominate the will of a child or woman with disability and uses that position to exploit her sexually; voluntarily injures, damages or interferes with the use of any limb or sense or any supporting device of a person with disability; performs, conducts or directs any medical procedure to be performed on a woman with disability which leads to or is likely to lead to termination of pregnancy without her express consent, except in cases where medical procedure for termination of pregnancy is done in severe cases of disability and with the opinion of a registered medical practitioner and also with the consent of the guardian of the woman with disability.