Mental illness, acid attack victims and autism spectrum disorder are now part of types of disabilities mentioned in ‘The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014’, which was passed in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The Bill will now be sent to Lok Sabha and once cleared, it will replace Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. While the present Act only recognises seven disabilities, 21 conditions have been listed in the new Bill. It will give several rights to persons with disabilities, including disabled-friendly access to all public buildings. One among the key highlights of new Bill is every child with disability will have right to free education.
Unlike the present Act, new Bill makes it clear that violation of any provision is punishable with imprisonment up to six months, and / or fine of Rs10,000. It says subsequent violations will have heavier fines, but the amended version may do away with prison time.
The Bill was pending in Rajya Sabha since 2014 and was mooted by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment after extensive consultation with various stakeholders, state governments / union territories and concerned Central Ministries and Departments.
The 21 disabilities are:
- Leprosy-cured persons
- Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing)
- Locomotor Disability
- Intellectual Disability
- Mental Illness
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Chronic Neurological conditions
- Specific Learning Disabilities
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Speech and Language disability
- Sickle Cell disease
- Multiple Disabilities
- Acid attack victim
- Parkinson’s disease