Rights of disabled persons

What are some of the benefits for disabled people?

  • Scholarship schemes for students with disabilities.
  • Concession in Railway and Air fare.
  • Rebate in income tax.
  • Reservation in government jobs. 
  • Free travel in state transport buses.
  • Loan for starting own business.

Disability could be described as an impairment which can be Intellectual, limitations, cognitive, improvement, sensory, exercise or the mixture of all these. Incapacity impacts a person’s activities and may happen at birth. Sometimes, it could happen in adulthood. The Indian constitution through the Persons With Disability Act, 1995 defines disability under part 2(i) as persons living with low vision, blindness, locomotor disability, leprosy cured, psychological illness, hearing impairment, and mental retardation, among others.


1.      The Indian constitution under Article 15(1) does not entertain discrimination of citizens (including persons living with disabilities) on the basis of place of birth, sex, race, caste, and faith.

2.      Article 15(2) does not allow the disabled to any type of restrictions, or legal responsibility when accessing public restaurants, shops, places of public entertainment, hotels of when using tanks, Wells, and roads.

3.      The constitution guarantees persons living with disabilities the right to employment in any workplace without discrimination

4.      Article 17 clearly states that no Indian (together with the disabled) shall be handled as untouchable.

5.      Article 21 guarantees the right to liberty and lifetime of the disabled

6.      Article 23 prohibits the practice of trafficking persons living with disabilities or forceful employment.

7.      Article 24 clearly states that no business or factory should make use of persons living with disabilities under the age of 14years. The Act also prohibits the employment of disabled youngsters in a hazardous situation.

8.      Article 25 clearly gives the disabled the right to faith. Persons living with disabilities can choose the place to worship.

9.      The constitution also ensures that persons living with disabilities are not compelled to pay taxes in order to maintain any religious group.

10.  The Indian constitution guarantees the right to decide on a language, culture or script

11.  Persons living with disabilities have the right to approach the Supreme Court to problem a breach of his/her right under Article 32.

12.  Persons living with disabilities have the right to vote and be voted for upon attainment of 18 years.

Other than the above 13 fundamental rights that are recognized by the Indian constitution, the following are some other basic rights the disabled enjoy:

1.      Disability Certificate

The certificate is issued by the State Medical Boards to persons living with at least 40 % of disabilities. The disabled can go to any hospital for a medical checkup and the proportion of disabilities, after which the disability certificate will be issued. The validity of the certificates is 5 years for temporary disability and lifetime for permanent disability.

2.      Prepare Concession

Persons living with disabilities are entitled to concession every time they purchase prepare tickets whether or not on-line or throughout the counter. However, the disabled should produce a current a photograph ID for verification. They can avail concessions after issuing an ID card,  in public transport after verification.

3.     Disability Pension

The structure ensures that disabled persons should take pleasure in disability pension, provided that he/she is above 18, stay under the poverty line, and suffers a disability of more than 80%. This proper comes under the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme. Quite a lot of Non-governmental Organization has pursued this course for the disabled with a view that they get their disability pension.

4.      Legal Guardianship Certificate

A Legal Guardianship Certificate is required in a situation the place the disabled person can’t take an authorized decision, particularly when suffering from psychological retardation or cerebral palsy. The certificates is issued to a guardian who would take care of the disabled particular person. The guardian can take an legal decision on behalf of the disabled person even after 18 years.

5.      Income Tax Concession

Persons living with disabilities also have the right to enjoy earnings tax concession. This right is guaranteed under the Income Tax Act, 1961 sections 80DD & 80U.

6.      Employment

The Indian government via the constitution ensures that 3% of the vacant positions in government jobs are reserved for the disabled.

7.      The Mental Health Act, 1987

The Mental Health Act, 1987 guarantees the following rights to persons living with disabilities:

1.      Persons living with mental disabilities should be admitted and treated in a government-owned hospital, convalescent house, and psychiatric hospital.

2.      The right to admit and treat mentally retarded prisoners or minors in a government-owned nursing home or psychiatric hospital.

3.      Minors below 16 years, alcohol addict, drug addict, and any person convicted of committing offence all have the right to be admitted and treated in a government-owned psychiatric hospital.

4.      Mentally retarded persons are protected by the constitution with the right to receive directed, regulated, and coordinated medical services from government-owned hospitals. The Act established Regulatory agencies both at the state and centre level to license these hospitals

5.      The right to receive treatment and care on the above-mentioned hospitals each as a patient and as an out-patient.

6.      Mentally disabled persons can seek voluntary medical admission in above-mentioned hospitals. Their guardian can also seek admission on their behalf if they are minors. A go well with can be filed in a Justice of the Peace courtroom to implement this order

7.      Safety agencies ought to defend a wandering mentally disabled particular person by taking him/her to safe custody and then inform the relations or strategy a local magistrate with the disabled for the magistrate to pronounce a reception court order.

8.      The right for mentally disabled persons to go away from the hospital after recovery.

9.      The right to guard and handle the properties of mentally disabled individuals. If they can not handle it themselves, the courtroom would appoint a guardian to handle the properties.

10.  The medical bill of mentally disabled persons shall be borne by the government, except in cases where the relatives agree to pay the medical bill.

11.  Mentally disabled persons that are being treated have the right to not be subjected to any cruelty or indignity.

12.  Mentally disabled persons have the right not to be used for research purposes without their consent.

13.  Mentally disabled persons have the right to receive their pension, payment or gratuity from the government. A guardian certified by the magistrate can receive the payment on behalf of the disabled persons.

14.  This Act provides the right to obtain free authorized illustration within the occasion that he/she can’t interact with a lawyer.

The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992

The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992ensures that persons living with disabilities are handled pretty by rehabilitation personnel. The next are among the requirements that should be maintained by rehabilitation officers:

  1. Persons living with disabilities should be served by professionally trained rehabilitation officers. The title of pros should be on the register maintained by the Council.
  2. The rehabilitation personnel must be qualified and should possess all the required {qualifications} to be appointed
  3. The rehabilitation personnel should work with the best stage of professionalism, else the officer could also be sanctioned and his/her name removed from the Council’s register.
  4. The government should properly regulate the career of rehabilitation officers.

What are the 4 categories of disabilities?

Disability of a person can be categorized in several parts, namely intellectual, neurological, physical, psychiatric, and sensory.

Types of disabilities are covered in the new act as compared to 7 in the previous act. The central government of India has full authority on adding further categories to the existing list. People that have 40% or more of one or more disabilities are categorized under benchmark disabilities. The current list of disabilities that are a part of this act is as follows: 
1. Mental Illness
2. Multiple Disabilities including deaf blindness
3. Acid Attack victim
4. Parkinson's disease
5. Dwarfism
6. Intellectual Disability
7. Autism Spectrum Disorder
8. Cerebral Palsy
9. Specific Learning Disabilities
10. Multiple Sclerosis
11. Speech and Language disability
12. Thalassemia
13. Sickle Cell disease
14. Blindness
15. Hemophilia
16. Low-vision
17. Leprosy Cured persons
18. Muscular Dystrophy
19. Chronic Neurological conditions
20. Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing)
21. Locomotor Disability

Penalties for the Violation of RPWD Act 2016

There are strict measures taken against those who violate the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (2016. The penalties for violating this act are explained as follows: 
1. The cases that include the violation of rights of PWDs will be taken care of in special courts designated in all the districts. 
2. A fine and imprisonment (6 months to 5 years) is the punishment for sexual exploitation of a child or woman with a disability or intentional insult/intimidation under this act. 
3. For the violation of the provisions and regulations of the act, a punishment of 6 months of imprisonment with/or a fine of 10,000 rupees is given. 
4. If the violation is repeated the punishment can be given up to 5 years and/or a fine of 50,000-5,00,000. 

Education Law for the Disabled

  • The right to education is available to all citizens including the disabled. Article 29(2) of the Constitution provides that no citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on the ground of religion, race, caste or language.
  • Article 45 of the Constitution directs the State to provide free and compulsory education for all children (including the disabled) until they attain the age of 14 years. No child can be denied admission into any education institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on the ground of religion, race, caste or language.

Health Laws

  • Article 47 of the constitution imposes on the Government a primary duty to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of its people and make improvements in public health - particularly to bring about prohibition of the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to one’s health except for medicinal purposes.
  • The health laws of India have many provisions for the disabled. Some of the Acts which make provision for health of the citizens including the disabled may be seen in the Mental Health Act, 1987 (See later in the chapter).

Family Laws

Various laws relating to the marriage enacted by the Government for DIFFERENT communities apply equally to the disabled. In most of these Acts it has been provided that the following circumstances will disable a person from undertaking a marriage. These are:

  • Where either party is an idiot or lunatic, 
  • Where one party is unable to give a valid consent due to unsoundness of mind or is suffering from a mental disorder of such a kind and extent as to be unfit for ‘marriage for procreation of children’
  • Where the parties are within the degree of prohibited relationship or are sapindas of each other unless permitted by custom or usage. 
  • Where either party has a living spouse.

Succession Laws for the Disabled

Under the Hindu Succession Act,1956 which applies to Hindus it has been specifically provided that physical disability or physical deformity would not disentitle a person from inheriting ancestral property. Similarly, in the Indian Succession Act, 1925 which applies in the case of intestate and testamentary succession, there is no provision which deprives the disabled from inheriting an ancestral property. The position with regard to Parsis and the Muslims is the same. In fact a disabled person can also dispose his property by writing a ‘will’ provided he understands the import and consequence of writing a will at the time when a will is written. For example, a person of unsound mind can make a Will during periods of sanity. Even blind persons or those who are deaf and dumb can make their Wills if they understand the import and consequence of doing it.

Labour Laws for the Disabled

Income Tax Concessions

Relief for Handicapped

  • Section 80 DD: Section 80 DD provides for a deduction in respect of the expenditure incurred by an individual or Hindu Undivided Family resident in India on the medical treatment (including nursing) training and rehabilitation etc. of handicapped dependents. For officiating the increased cost of such maintenance, the limit of the deduction has been raised from Rs.12000/- to Rs.20000/-.
  • Section 80 V: A new section 80V has been introduced to ensure that the parent in whose hands income of a permanently disabled minor has been clubbed under Section 64, is allowed to claim a deduction upto Rs.20000/- in terms of Section 80 V.
  • Section 88 B: This section provides for an additional rebate from the net tax payable by a resident individual who has attained the age of 65 years. It has been amended to increase the rebate from 10% to 20% in the cases where the gross total income does not exceed Rs.75000/- (as against a limit of Rs.50000/- specified earlier).

Main Provisions of the Act

  • Prevention and Early Detection of Disabilities 
  • Education 
  • Employment 
  • Non-Discrimination 
  • Research and Manpower Development 
  • Affirmative Action 
  • Social Security 
  • Grievance Redressal 


  • Every Child with disability shall have the rights to free education till the age of 18 years in integrated schools or special schools. 
  • Appropriate transportation, removal of architectural barriers and restructuring of modifications in the examination system shall be ensured for the benefit of children with disabilities. 
  • Children with disabilities shall have the right to free books, scholarships, uniform and other learning material. 
  • Special Schools for children with disabilities shall be equipped with vocational training facilities. 
  • Non-formal education shall be promoted for children with disabilities. 
  • Teachers’ Training Institutions shall be established to develop requisite manpower. 
  • Parents may move to an appropriate forum for the redressal of grievances regarding the placement of their children with disabilities. 


3% of vacancies in government employment shall be reserved for people with disabilities, 1% each for the persons suffering from:

  • Blindness or Low Vision 
  • Hearing Impairment 
  • Locomotor Disabilities & Cerebral Palsy 
  • Suitable Scheme shall be formulated for the training and welfare of persons with disabilities 
  • The relaxation of upper age limit 
  • Regulating the employment 
  • Health and Safety measures and creation of a non- handicapping, environment in places where persons with disabilities are employed

Government Educational Institutes and other Educational Institutes receiving grant from Government shall reserve at least 3% seats for people with disabilities.

No employee can be sacked or demoted if they become disabled during service,  although they can be moved to another post with the same pay and condition. No promotion can be denied because of impairment.

Allotment of land shall be made at concessional rates to the people with disabilities for:

  • House 
  • Business 
  • Special Recreational Centres 
  • Special Schools 
  • Research Schools 
  • Factories by Entrepreneurs with Disability, 


  • Public building, rail compartments, buses, ships and air-crafts will be designed to give easy access to the disabled people. 
  • In all public places and in waiting rooms, the toilets shall be wheelchair accessible. Braille and sound symbols are also to be provided in all elevators (lifts). 
  • All the places of public utility shall be made barrier- free by providing the ramps. 

Research and Manpower Development

  • Research in the following areas shall be sponsored and promoted
  • Prevention of Disability 
  • Rehabilitation including community-based rehabilitation 
  • Development of Assistive Devices. 
  • Job Identification 
  • On site Modifications of Offices and Factories 
  • Financial assistance shall be made available to the universities, other institutions of higher learning, professional bodies and non-government research- units or institutions, for undertaking research for special education, rehabilitation and manpower development. 

Social Security

  • Financial assistance to non-government organizations for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
  • Insurance coverage for the benefit of the government employees with disabilities. 
  • Unemployment allowance to the people with disabilities who are registered with the special employment exchange for more than a year and could not find any gainful occupation

Grievance Redressal

  • In case of violation of the rights as prescribed in this act, people with disabilities may move an application to the
  • Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in the Centre, or 
  • Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in the State. 

The Mental Health Act, 1987

Under the Mental Health Act, 1987 mentally ill persons are entitled to the following rights:

  1. A right to be admitted, treated and cared in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home or convalescent home established or maintained by the Government or any other person for the treatment and care of mentally ill persons (other than the general hospitals or nursing homes of the Government). 
  2. Even mentally ill prisoners and minors have a right of treatment in psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric nursing homes of the Government. 
  3. Minors under the age of 16 years, persons addicted to alcohol or other drugs which lead to behavioural changes, and those convicted of any offence are entitled to admission, treatment and care in separate psychiatric hospitals or nursing homes established or maintained by the Government. 
  4. Mentally ill persons have the right to get regulated, directed, and co-ordinated mental health services from the Government. The Central Authority and the State Authorities set up under the Act have the responsibility of such regulation and issue of licenses for establishing and maintaining psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes. 
  5. Treatment at Government hospitals and nursing homes mentioned above can be obtained either as in patient or on an out-patients basis. 
  6. Mentally ill persons can seek voluntary admission in such hospitals or nursing homes and minors can seek admission through their guardians. Admission can be sought for by the relatives of the mentally ill person on behalf of the latter. Applications can also be made to the local magistrate for grants of such (reception) orders. 
  7. The police have an obligation to take into protective custody a wandering or neglected mentally ill person, and inform his relative, and have to produce such a person before the local magistrate for issue of reception orders. 
  8. Mentally ill persons have the right to be discharged when cured and entitled to ‘leave’ the mental health facility in accordance with the provisions in the Act. 
  9. Where mentally ill persons own properties including land which they cannot themselves manage, the district court upon application must protect and secure the management of such properties by entrusting the same to a  ‘Court of Wards’, by appointing guardians of such mentally ill persons or appointment of managers of such property. 
  10. The costs of maintenance of mentally ill persons detained as in-patient in any government psychiatric hospital or nursing home shall be borne by the state government concerned unless such costs have been agreed to be borne by the relative or other person on behalf of the mentally ill person and no provision for such maintenance has been made by order of the District Court. Such costs can also be borne out of the estate of the mentally ill person. 
  11. Mentally ill persons undergoing treatment shall not be subjected to any indignity (whether physical or mental) or cruelty. Mentally ill persons cannot be used without their own valid consent for purposes of research, though they could receive their diagnosis and treatment. 
  12. Mentally ill persons who are entitled to any pay, pension, gratuity, or any other form of allowance from the government (such as government servants who become mentally ill during their tenure) cannot be denied of such payments. The person who is in-charge of such mentally person or his dependents will receive such payments after the magistrate has certified the same. 
  13. A mentally ill person shall be entitled to the services of a legal practitioner by order of the magistrate or district court if he has no means to engage a legal practitioner or his circumstances so warrant in respect of proceedings under the Act. 

The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992

This Act provides guarantees so as to ensure the good quality of services rendered by various rehabilitation personnel. Following is the list of such guarantees:

  1. To have the right to be served by trained and qualified rehabilitation professionals whose names are borne on the Register maintained by the Council
  2. To have the guarantee of maintenance of minimum standards of education required for recognition of rehabilitation qualification by universities or institutions in India. 
  3. To have the guarantee of maintenance of standards of professional conduct and ethics by rehabilitation professionals in order to protect against the penalty of disciplinary action and removal from the Register of the Council
  4. To have the guarantee of regulation of the profession of rehabilitation professionals by a statutory council under the control of the central government and within the bounds prescribed by the statute

The national trust for welfare of persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities act, 1999

  1. The Central Government has the obligation to set up, in accordance with this Act and for the purpose of the benefit of the disabled, the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability at New Delhi. 
  2. The National Trust created by the Central Government has to ensure that the objects for which it has been set up as enshrined in Section 10 of this Act have to be fulfilled. 
  3. It is an obligation on part of the Board of Trustees of the National Trust so as to make arrangements for an adequate standard of living of any beneficiary named in any request received by it, and to provide financial assistance to the registered organizations for carrying out any approved programme for the benefit of disabled. 
  4. Disabled persons have the right to be placed under guardianship appointed by the ‘Local Level Committees’ in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The   guardians so appointed will have the obligation to be responsible for the disabled person and their property and required to be accountable for the same. 
  5. A disabled person has the right to have his guardian removed under certain conditions. These include an abuse or neglect of the disabled, or neglect or misappropriation of the property under care. 
  6. Whenever the Board of Trustees are unable to perform or have persistently made default in their performance of duties, a registered organization for the disabled can complain to the central government to have the Board of Trustees superseded and/or reconstituted. 
  7. The National Trust shall be bound by the provisions of this Act regarding its accountability, monitoring finance, accounts and audit. 

UN Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons

This declaration on the rights of mentally retarded person’s calls for national and international actions so as to ensure that it will be used as a common basis and frame of reference for the protection of their rights:

  1. The mentally retarded person has, to the maximum degree of feasibility, the same rights as under human beings. 
  2. The mentally retarded person has a right to proper medical care, physical therapy and to such education, training, rehabilitation, and guidance which will enable him to further develop his ability and reach maximum potential in life. 
  3. The mentally retarded person has a right of economic security and of a decent standard of living. He/she has a right to perform productive work or to fully participate in any other meaningful occupation of capabilities. 
  4. Whenever possible, the mentally retarded person should live with his own family or with his foster parents and participate in different forms of community life. The family with which he lives should receive assistance. If an institutional care becomes necessary, then it should be provided in surroundings and circumstances as much closer as possible to that of a normal lifestyle. 
  5. The mentally retarded person has a right to a qualified guardian when this is required to protect his personal well-being or interests. 
  6. The mentally retarded person has a right to get protection from exploitation, abuse, and a degrading treatment. If prosecuted for any offence; he shall have right to the due process of law, with full recognition being given to his degree of mental responsibility.
  7. Whenever mentally retarded persons are unable (because of the severity of their handicap) to exercise their rights in a meaningful way or it should become necessary to restrict or deny some or all their rights then the procedure(s) used for that restriction or denial of rights must contain proper legal safeguards against every form of abuse. This procedure for the mentally retarded must be based on an evaluation of their social capability by qualified experts and must be subject to periodic review and a right of appeal to the higher authorities. 

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