States and UTs to file compliance report of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 within 12 weeks

Supreme Court: Considering the need of complying with the judgment rendered in Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation vs. Union of India, (2014) 14 SCC 383 and the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the 3-Judge Bench of Dipak Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagouda, JJ directed all the States and the Union Territories to file compliance report within twelve weeks

In the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation case, where a declaration was sought that denial of appointment to the visually disabled persons in the faculties and college of various universities in the identified posts is violative of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 15 read with Article 41 of the Constitution of India, the 3-judge bench opined that the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is to be treated as an enactment for empowerment of the persons under disability and further expressed its concern with regard to the apathy shown by various State Governments and the instrumentalities of the States.

However, in the present case, taking note of the fact that the Parliament, realizing the national need of the rights of the persons under disability and commitment to the Convention of the United Nations General Assembly, had repealed the 1995 Act and brought in The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the Court noticed that more rights have been conferred on the disabled persons and more categories have been added. That apart, access to justice, free education, role of local authorities, National fund and the State fund for persons with disabilities have been created. The 2016 Act is noticeably a sea change in the perception and requires a march forward look with regard to the persons with disabilities and the role of the States, local authorities, educational institutions and the companies. It was hence said that the laudable policy inherent within the framework of the legislation should be implemented and not become a distant dream. Immediacy of action is the warrant.

The Court said that the States and the Union Territories must realize that under the 2016 Act their responsibilities have grown. When the law is so concerned for the disabled persons and makes provision, it is the obligation of the law executing authorities to give effect to the same in quite promptitude. It was also said that a duty is cast also on the States and its authorities to see that the statutory provisions that are enshrined and applicable to the cooperative societies, companies, firms, associations and establishments, institutions, are scrupulously followed. The Court said that the steps taken in this regard shall be concretely stated in the compliance report within the time stipulated and listed the matter to be taken up on 16.08.2017. [Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 481, order dated 25.04.2017]

 

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