News Excerpt
Supreme Court confirmed any person suffering from disabilities will be entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as scheduled caste, scheduled tribe candidates in public employment and education.

•    A three-judge Bench led by J. RohintonNariman upheld a 2012 judgment of the Delhi High Court in AnamolBhandari (minor) through his father/Natural Guardian v. Delhi Technological University in a significant decision.
•    Verdict came on a petition filed by Aryan Raj, a special needs person against the Government College of Arts, Chandigarh.
•    SC highlighted the ruling of Delhi High court in AnmolBhandari case that new academic courses should be crafted to specifically cater to the needs of intellectually disabled persons.

Requirement of the Verdict
    As the intellectually and mentally challenged persons have certain limitations, which are not there in physically challenged persons. So, there are possibilities of them lagging in some subjects, the subject experts are required to examine the feasibility of creating a course that caters to the specific needs of such persons.
    Candidates with disabilities were often not able to get the benefit of reservation in education and employment because of not meeting the general standards. Now, public sector employers and colleges/universities will have to allow the same relaxations to them as to SC / ST candidates.

Definition of Disability
    According to The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016:
"Person with disability" means a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others. Before RPWD Act 2016, only seven types of disabilities were recognized. Under RPWD Act 2016 a total of 21 types of disabilities are recognized.
"Person with benchmark disability" means a person with not less than forty per cent of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority.
    According to Person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995
"Disability" means-Blindness; Low vision; Leprosy-cured; Hearing impairment; Locomotor disability; Mental Retardation and Mental illness.

Disability Issues in India
    A large number of children with disabilities (CWDs) were unable to complete their schooling.
    Lack of education in disabled leads to lower employment & incomes.
    Social exclusion from the society.
Although, the SarvaShikshaAbhiyan has made an effort to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities, the system faces a lot of challenges in identifying these children as well as responding to their needs.

Constitutional & Legal Framework for Disabled in India
Under the Constitution the disabled have been guaranteed the following fundamental rights:
    Article 15(1) enjoins on the Government not to discriminate against any citizen of India (including disabled) on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
    No person including the disabled irrespective of his belonging can be treated as an untouchable. It would be an offence punishable in accordance with law as provided by Article 17 of the

    Every person including the disabled has his life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21.
    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 41 of the Constitution provides that “the State shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.”
    India is signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    Also, various legislation that affects people with disabilities in India includes the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the National Trust Act, 1999, the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992 andthe Mental Health Care Act, 2017.

Government Initiatives
Accessible India Campaign: The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has conceptualised the “Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)” as a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society. The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication eco-system.
Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP Scheme): The ADIP Scheme is in operation since 1981 with the main objective to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential.  Assistive devices are given to PWDs with an aim to improve their independent functioning and to arrest the extent of disability and occurrence of secondary disability.
Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: The umbrella Central Sector Scheme called the "Scheme to Promote Voluntary Action for Persons with Disabilities.

The objectives of the scheme are:
o    To create an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities, equity, social justice and empowerment of persons with disabilities.
o    To encourage voluntary action for ensuring effective implementation of the People with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities and Protection of Rights) Act, 1995.
National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities: Government of India has launched a Central Sector Scheme namely, Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF) during the financial year 2012-13 to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education leading to degrees such as M. Phil. and Ph.D. The scheme caters the requirements of the students with disabilities for pursuing research degree in universities, research institutions and scientific institutions. This will not only enable them to be eligible for employment to the posts of Lecturers lying vacant in various colleges and universities but will equip them to effectively take advantage of the growing opportunities at the national and international level in the context of the new economic order.

Way Forward
The first thing to be done is to move away from the ‘charity-based approach’ to the ‘rights-based approach’.
A significant proportion of people see a person with disabilities as an object of ‘sympathy’ and ‘pity’ thereby leading to their ‘suffering’ and their treatment as a third-class citizen in the country.

In recent years though, the discourse of disability has certainly gained momentum. In the public sphere, movies and news channels have highlighted issues of disability. Actors have played the roles of people with disabilities in films and news channels have had shows on disability.