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Interview

New Law versus Amendments – North Zone leaders speak up

While the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment stubbornly continues to hold on to the now (in)famous urban legend of ‘Amendments’ to the Disability Act of 1995, the belief and demand of the Indian disability sector for a new, comprehensive disability legislation is fast gaining ground. D.N.I.S. has been continuously carrying the voice of disability sector’s leadership to its readers and beyond. This time around, Dorodi Sharma caught up with a few noted leaders at the North Zone Consultation in New Delhi on January 29 and 30.

D.N.I.S.: Are you in favour of a new Disability Law? If no, then why? If yes, what are your aspirations from the new law?

Javed Ahmad Tak, Honorary Chairman, Humanity Welfare Organisation, Jammu and Kashmir: I wholeheartedly support a new law as it is the need of the hour. Amendments will only be a patchwork process, whereas the new law will cover everyone’s needs.

My vision for the new law is that it should empower all types of disabilities, especially the ones that went unrecognized in the Disability Act of 1995. It should also have strong and efficient implementation mechanisms with proper redressal systems and punitive action if any violation occurs.

Lt. Col. Ravi Bedi, Chief Functionary, Youth Technical Training Society, Chandigarh: The need of the hour is a new and comprehensive law that caters to all disabilities and with strong implementation and appellate authorities.

My aspiration from the new law is that it should truly empower the 10 percent disabled population of the country and enable them to become equal citizens of the country.

P.K. Pincha, Consultant, Disability and Human Rights, New Delhi: I have been consistently voicing my demand for a new law ever since India ratified U.N.C.R.P.D. By ratifying the Convention, India has made a solemn assurance to people with disabilities vis-a-vis their rights. U.N.C.R.P.D. encourages a paradigm shift from the medical and social protection model. Disability Act of 1995 is based on the social or welfare model and will have to be aligned with the Convention which guarantees absolute and non-negotiable rights.

My aspiration from the new law is that it should incorporate the human rights model of disability in its language, spirit and values.

Mohd. Iqbal, President, Peoples’ Action Group for Inclusion and Rights, Ladakh: I am in favour of a new law and not amendments. Only a new law will be able to include all kinds of disabilities, ensure active participation of civil society and efficient implementation mechanisms.

I want the new law to empower all disabled people and that it should be implemented and not remain on paper like the Disability Act of 1995.

Virendra Kalra, Indian Association of Muscular Dystrophy, Himachal Pradesh: I definitely support a new law. Amendments will only be a patchwork. It is better to wait a bit longer and get all our rights than a faster, half baked law.

The new law should take care of all kinds of disabilities and impairments. It should be based on U.N.C.R.P.D. and should be strongly implemented.