Calcutta HC: Persons with Disabilities Act Shifts Focus from their Protection to Empowerment

Debangana Ray

Published on August 9, 2022 at 17:41 IST

The Calcutta High Court quashed a resolution passed by the governing body of a college refusing to consider a person with physical disability for appointment in the physically handicapped category finding it to be violation of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016

Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya observed that the 2016 Act which replaced the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 was enacted to empower persons with disability rather than protect them.

The single judge also made observations on the nature of both acts of 1995 and 2016 stating that in 2016, the objective was effective integration of persons with disability and less about recognition of a physical condition as a limiting factor.

Justice Bhattacharya analysed the definition of ‘disability’ under the 1995 Act and the 2016 Act respectively.

While the 1995 Act associated disability as a condition from birth, it was found that the 2016 Act had a more inclusive definition for the same, which included evolving forms of disability within its ambit.

It was found is that in a legislation intended to benefit persons with disability, the definition of disability cannot be frozen with the repealing of the 1995 act particularly when the whole object of the 2016 act was to include broad spectrum disabilities which were not recognized earlier.

Also, the 2016 act was implemented to empower persons with disabilities to effectively integrate with society. Therefore, the resolution taken by the governing body was quashed.

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