The draft legislation is based on the 2010 report SudhaKaul Committee, and will replace the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. The act was brought to comply with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India became a signatory in 2007.
- The 1995 Act recognised 7 disabilities – blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental retardation and mental illness. The 2014 Bill expanded the definition of disability to cover 19 conditions, including cerebral palsy, haemophilia, multiple sclerosis, autism and thalassaemia among others.
- The Bill also allowed the central government to notify any other condition as a disability.
- Persons with at least 40% of a disability are entitled to certain benefits such as reservations in education and employment, preference in government schemes, etc.
- The Bill confers several rights and entitlements to disabled persons. These include disabled friendly access to all public buildings, hospitals, modes of transport, polling stations, etc.
- In case of mentally ill persons, district courts may award two types of guardianship. A limited guardian takes decisions jointly with the mentally ill person. A plenary guardian takes decisions on behalf of the mentally ill person, without consulting him.
- Violation of any provision of the Act is punishable with imprisonment up to six months, and/or fine of Rs 10,000. Subsequent violations carry a higher penalty and longer imprisonment.
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