The government is keen to finalise the rules of the recently passed Disabilities Bill by April 14 which will allow disabled persons to avail 5% reservation in higher education institutions from next academic session. According to the bill, specially-abled persons with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years will also have the right to free education. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, which was passed in the Winter Session, provides for raising reservation in government jobs for persons with benchmark disabilities from 3 to 4% and in higher education institutes from 3 to 5%.
“The Disabilities Bill was passed by Parliament in the Winter Session and it has already been notified. Now I’m keen for earliest implementation of this act. We are working on to finalise its rules by April 14, including reservation benefits for the disabled,” Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot told PTI. He further said that this very important legislation would be a game changer for disabled persons and it brings Indian laws in line with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Under the newly enacted Act, the government has increased the types of disabilities from the existing seven to 21. The newly added types include mental illnesses, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, specific learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, speech and language disability, thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities, including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinsons disease. Also, disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept and government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.
As per the Act, assaulting, insulting, intimidating, denying food to a person with disability or sexually exploiting a differently-abled woman and performing a medical procedure on such women without consent which may lead in termination of pregnancy will draw a jail term up to five years once the law is passed. Any person who contravenes any provision of the act will be punished with a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh.