The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment issued a notification proposing an amendment to the Right of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016, to decriminalise ‘minor offences for improving business sentiment and unclogging court processes’. The move has spurred protests by the community of people with disabilities, disability rights activist and organisations.
What amendments have been suggested?
One of the sections under the review of the Act has a provision for imprisonment for ‘intentionally insulting or intimidating a person with a disability with intent to humiliate in public view’. Under the new proposal, this provision is to be taken out. While Ministry officials say that the Act is being amended to make laws that are equivalent to the offence, the community argues that people with disabilities face multiple layers of discrimination and that the provisions proposed are to deter punitive action for offences against people with disabilities.
What can you do?
The government has invited feedback and comments to the proposed amendment. KVS Rao, Director of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has said that the ‘department is flexible’ and might also consider extending the date of suggestions and feedback from July 10, so as to give the community more time to respond.
So, how can you help?
1. Extend your support to the community by sharing information, creating awareness around the proposed amendment.
2. Write to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment or Director Rao at firstname.lastname@example.org and express your concerns about the proposed amendment.
We can use our platform to make a difference, by a simple act like sending an email. So we kindly urge you to fill out this form:
We will forward you a drafted email with recipients to send forth to the concerned authorities. Please send these before the 10th of July so that the government notices in time! (Team Doctors For A Cause)