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Ensure 5% quota to specially-abled candidates in educational institutes: Delhi HC

  • Published
    31st Jul, 2023

The Delhi High Court (HC) has asked the Delhi Government to ensure that the mandate of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPwD) must be followed by allotting 5% reservation for disabled candidates in all educational institutions.

  • Now, the universities are providing 3% quota to the candidates instead of the mandated 5%.
About the Order:
  • The university, as well as the State Government, are directed to ensure that in all educational institutions, the statutory provisions governing the field under the RPWD Act are followed and 5 per cent reservation is provided to specially-abled persons
  • The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) plea by non-governmental organization Justice for All, which alleged that the university was not providing 5% reservation following the provisions of the Act.

What are Constitutional Provisions related to Disability?

  • Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)states that State shall make effective provision for securing right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, within the limits of its economic capacity and development.
  • The subject of ‘relief of the disabled and unemployable’ is specified in the state list of the Seventh schedule of the constitution.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016:

  • Definition:
    • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
    • Benchmark disabilityrefers to having at least 40% disability of any type recognized under the Act.
  • Types:
    • The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21.
    • The Act added mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, speech and language disabilitythalassemiahaemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinson’s disease.
    • In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
  • Reservation:
    • Itincreased the reservation for people suffering from disabilities from 3% to 4% in government jobs and from 3% to 5% in higher education institutes.
  • Education:
    • Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
    • Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education.
  • Accessibility:
    • Stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings in a prescribed time frame along with the Accessible India Campaign.
  • Regulatory Body:
    • The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies, monitoring implementation of the Act.
  • Special Fund:
    • A separate National and State Fund will be created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities.

Types of Disabilities:

As per the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1995 - A person with disability can be defined as one with one or more of disabilities falling under any of the below mentioned categories :

  • Blindness:-  A condition where a person suffers from any of the following conditions namely:-
  • Total absence of sight; or Visual acuity not exceeding 6/60 or 20/200 (Snellen) in the better eye with correcting lenses; or
  • Limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of 20 degree or worse;
  • Low vision: A person with impairment of visual functioning even after treatment of standard refractive correction but who uses or is potentially capable of using vision for the planning or execution of a task with appropriate assistive device;
  • Cerebral Palsy:- A group of non-progressive conditions of a person characterized by abnormal motor control posture resulting from brain insult or injuries occurring in the pre-natal, peri-natal or infant period of development;
  • Locomotor disability:- Disability of the bones, joints or muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of the limbs or nay form of cerebral palsy;
  • Leprosy-cured:- "Leprosy-cured person" means person who has been cured of leprosy but is suffering from-
  • Loss of sensation in hands or feet as well as loss of sensation and paresis in the eye and eye-lid but with no manifest deformity;
  • Manifest deformity and paresis but having sufficient mobility in their hands and feet to enable them to engage in normal economic activity;
  • Extreme physical deformity as well as advanced age which prevents him from undertaking and gainful occupation and the expression "Leprosy Cured" shall be construed accordingly;
  • Mental retardation:-  Conditions of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person which is specially characterized by sub normality of intelligence;
  • Mental illness:-  Any mental disorder other than Mental retardation
  • Hearing Impairment:- Loss of sixty decibels or more in the better ear in the conversational range of frequencies

What are the major issues faced by them?

  • Health: A large number of disabilities are preventable, including those arising from medical issues during birth, maternal conditions, malnutrition, as well as accidents and injuries.
    • Healthcare facilities and poorly trained health-workers in rehabilitation centres is another concern.
  • Education: There are various issues such as availability special schools, access to schools, trained teachers, and availability of educational materials for the disabled.
    • Further, reservation for the disabled in higher educational institutions has not been fulfilled in many instances.
  • Employment: Even though many disabled adults are capable of productive work, disabled adults have far lower employment rates than the general population.
    • The situation is even worse in the private sector, where much less disabled are employed.
  • Accessibility: Physical accessibility in buildings, transportation, access to services etc still remains a major challenge.
  • Discrimination/Social Exclusion: Negative attitudes held by the families of the disabled, and often the disabled themselves, hinder disabled persons from taking an active part in the family, community or workforce.
  • Inadequate data and statistics: The lack of rigorous and comparable data and statics further hinders inclusion of persons with disabilities.

The major issues with collection of data and measuring disability are:

  • Difficult to define disability
  • Coverage: Different purposes require different disability data
  • Reluctance in reporting disability as disability is considered to be a stigma in many places/societies
  • Poor implementation of policies and schemes hinders the inclusion of disabled persons.
  • Though various acts and schemes have been laid down with an aim to empower the disabled, their enforcement face many challenges.

Present data (Inaccuracy in numbers)

  • Census 2011: Out of the total population of 121 crore, about 2.68 Cr persons are ‘Disabled’ (2.21% of the total population).
  • National Sample Survey Report 2018: It showed 2.3% for rural and 2% for urban.
  • NFHS-5: The question of disability was included for the first time in NFHS-5 (2019-2021) and it was observed that the disability prevalence was only 1% for rural areas and 0.9% for urban areas.

Globally, 15% of the world’s population has a disability, as per the 2011 World Report on Disability from the World Health Organization.

Government Interventions:

  • Accessible India Campaign: Creation of Accessible Environment for PwDs: A nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity.
  • The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication ecosystem.
  • National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities (RGMF): The scheme aims to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education.
  • DeenDayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to NGOs for providing various services to Persons with Disabilities, like special schools, vocational training centres, community based rehabilitation, pre-school andearly intervention etc.
  • Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP): The Scheme aims at helping the disabled persons by bringing suitable, durable, scientifically-manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances within their reach.
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