Legal Rights of the disabled

Legal Rights of the disabled

Date : 02 Dec, 2019

Post By Bhupender Tanwar

Equality in rights and dignity is a fundamental right. People with disabilities have one fundamental difficulty accomplishing things that others take for granted. Social stigma around disabilities is so strong in India that it is not just a health problem now but mostly mental reflecting the mindset of the society. 

To protect people with disabilities, the Government of India has laid down certain laws and regulations.

Meaning of Disability:

A disability is an impairment which may be physical, behavioural, emotional, intellectual, cognitive, sensory etc in nature. It substantially affects the day-to-day life of an individual but this does not make their existence any less than ours. The disability may be used to refer to physical or mental differences or may even be referred to as the emotional or behavioural growth of an individual. Different people hold a different meaning to this word. People with disabilities certain extra care and have some extra health needs than the non-disabled people.

The stand of the Indian constitution on disability

The Constitution of India applies equally to every legal citizen of India, whether they are healthy or disabled in any way (physically, mentally, emotionally and others)

The Constitution of India delivers certain fundamental rights to the disabled which are as follow: 

The Constitution provides to its citizens including the disabled, a right of justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and of opportunity and for the promotion of fraternity.

Article 15(1) encourages the Government of India to not discriminate against any citizen of India which includes the disabled, on the ground of their religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Article 15 (2) lists clearly that no citizen of India, including the disabled, shall be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition on any of the above grounds in the matter of their access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment or in the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of government funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. 

There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens of India, not discriminating against the disabled, in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.

No person, including the disabled, can be treated as untouchable, irrespective of his belonging.

Each individual of India including the disabled has his life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

There can be no human-trafficking or other forms of forced labour in India and this is also applicable to people with disabilities.

Article 24 prohibits the employment of children, including the disabled under the age of 14 years to work in any factory or mine or to be engaged in any other hazardous employment. Even a private contractor acting for the Government cannot engage children below 14 years of age in such employment.

Article 25 guarantees to every citizen, including the disabled, the right to freedom of religion. 

No disabled person can be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion and maintenance of any particular religion or religious group.

No Disabled person will be deprived of the right to the language, script or culture which he has or to which he belongs.

Every disabled person can move the Supreme Court of India to enforce his fundamental rights and the rights to move the Supreme Court is itself guaranteed by Article 32.

No disabled person owning property (like the non-disabled) can be deprived of his property except by authority of law though the right to property is not a fundamental right. Any unauthorized deprivation of property can be challenged by suit and for relief by way of damages.

Every disabled person (like the non-disabled) on the attainment of 18 years of age becomes eligible for inclusion of his name in the general electoral roll for the territorial constituency to which he belongs.


The persons with disabilities (PWD) (Equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act, 1995

Enforced on February 7, 1996, The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 ensures equal opportunities for the people with disabilities and their full participation in the building of this nation. 


Main Provisions of the Act

Prevention and Early Detection of Disabilities



Non-Discrimination (As per constitution of India)

Research and Manpower Development

Affirmative Action

Social Security

Grievance Readdress

Prevention and early detection of disabilities

Proper research and investigation shall be conducted to find out the cause of disabilities.

Preventive measures should be adopted to fight disabilities and health staff adequately trained to deal with the same.

Yearly screening of children shall be conducted to identify ‘at-risk’ cases.

Various awareness campaigns shall be launched to provide information on disabilities to the common public.

Measures shall be taken for prenatal, perinatal, and post-natal care of the mother and child.


A child with special needs shall have the right to free education until the age of 18 years is attained in normal or special schools as per the requirements along with vocational training facilities.

To benefit the children with disabilities, required modifications in transportation, architecture and restructuring of educational systems shall be introduced.

Right to free books, uniforms and scholarships shall be distributed to the children with disabilities.

Non-formal education shall be promoted for children with disabilities and teachers’ teaching special children will be required to develop requisite manpower.


In Government employment, 3% of opportunities shall be reserved for people with disabilities, for the people suffering from:

Blindness or Low Vision

Hearing Impairment

Loco-motor Disabilities & Cerebral Palsy

Government Educational Institutes and other Educational Institutes receiving a 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.

Affirmative Action

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



Special Recreational Centres

Special Schools

Research Schools

Factories by Entrepreneurs with Disability

Research and Manpower Development

Research in the said areas shall be promoted by the government:

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 NGOs for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

Insurance coverage for the benefit of 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

The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992

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

UN Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons

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