Minutes for Civil and Political Rights and Legal Capacity

As on [26th August 2010]

Civil political rights including legal capacity

Members present: Dr. Gadkari, G Syamala, Rajive Ranjan, Sudha Kaul, Jayshree Raveendran, Dr Govinda Rao, Bhargavi Davar, Pavan Muntha, Meenakshi, Srinivasulu, Nilesh Singhit and NALSAR team.


The New Act must recognize in its non negotiable principles, that-

  • Disability is an evolving concept. Disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and psychological / environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
  • The New Act will recognize human rights as inherent, indivisible, interdependent. All human rights are a given when a person is born. But when social and other barriers lead to rights denial, measures for the protection and realization of rights have to be provided for.
  • Persons with disability should be treated on equal basis as others. The New Act will define the non provision of reasonable accommodations as discrimination. The new Act will ensure the Equality and non discrimination of PDs in all dimensions of life.
  • The new Act will recognize diversity of PDs. All persons are different from each other and the human experience and human form has a range of ways of being and that disabled Persons represent a part of such a continuum. Persons with disability should be seen to have similar needs as all others with equal access to different and specific ways of fulfilling these needs.
  • The new Act will appreciate the dual discrimination faced by PDs on the basis of poverty and disability- the negative social impact of poverty on persons with disability and the magnification of poverty due to disability. The new Act will ensure poverty alleviation.
  • The new Act will ensure the non discrimination of PDs who are multiply vulnerable due to gender, class, sexual orientation, language, religion, caste, birth, age or other status.
  • Women and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, both within and outside the home, of discrimination, violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation. The new Act will ensure the non discrimination of women with disabilities and protection from neglect, abuse, maltreatment and exploitation.
  • The Act must recognize that disability is development and opportunity linked, and this Act must be supported in full with a comprehensive disability policy bringing PDs in equal basis as others, developed with full participation of PDs at all steps.
  • Inclusion of those seen as having 'high support needs' (seen as severely disturbed' or 'severely disabled') is a must. If special provisions are needed to ensure their safety and inclusion in an affirmative manner, the Act must provide those.
  • The Act must recognize that the majority of persons with disabilities live in conditions of poverty within custodial institutions and must recognize and provide for ameliorating the negative impact of custodialisation on persons with disabilities.
  • Training programs will include those relating to awareness, acceptance, accessibility, ability development, and achievement. Assurance of rights for PDs will be in all development programs through capacity building at all levels including the panchayat, parents organisations, DPOs so that PDs are an integral part of communities.
  • To facilitate societal variables contributing to interdependence which is empowering for PDs, the Act must recognize that peace and conflict free zones are not only relevant for politically conflicted areas, but also for all areas of human cohabitation and negotiation, including families, neighbourhoods, support systems and communities.
  • The new Act should recognize the importance of accessibility to the physical, psychological, spiritual, social, economic and cultural environment, to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • The Act must recognize that while the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State, friendship groups, cultural groups, support groups, political, sporting, creative or recreational groups or other support systems enjoyed by the PD are indispensable to their thriving and well being and must equally be protected by society and the State.
  • Civil political rights and socio economic rights are interconnected, with CPR cross cutting every right listed herein. Legal capacity and non discrimination must be premised in every article of the New Act.
  • CPR must be granted in full in the new Act, irrespective of any other law or policy which may provide for these rights. CPR provisos must not be abstract, guiding principle provisos, but realizable and enforceable rights within the scope of the Act.
  • For example, non-discrimination in all areas of life must be addressed, along with measures for implementing and monitoring it, with timely reviews and flexibility for improvement in future actions. Penalties must be provided for if there is breach of rights to PDs. (e.g. if privacy is invaded and causing harm, what kind of actions will be taken? Who will take them? When will such actions be taken? What penalties will be imposed? Reviews and white papers are a must- status reports must be available on periodic basis.)


II. Other harmonisations related to disability Act [Committee Recommendations]

  • MoSJE must make proactive efforts to dialogue on harmonising with other laws being reviewed or needing review (MHA, NTA).
  • The MoSJE could consider 'harmonisation' of disability act with other Acts within its own jurisdiction and seek co-operations with other related Ministries: e.g. Beggary Prevention Act, under which many people with disabilities, particularly elderly and children are booked using the penal format; Juvenile Justice Act, etc. Such dialogue within and between Ministries can address the issue of the homeless and / or institutionalised disabled, a topic that has utmost importance.
  • Constitutional changes must be considered along with changes in the PWDA: 'Disability' is not specifically mentioned in the context of non-discrimination and equality within the Constitution; Article 326 excludes people of "unsound mind". Harmonization of PWDA with UNCRPD will be limited if Constitution is not CRPD compliant. Constitutional provisions on non-discrimination and equality can also be taken into account.


III. Why civil political rights in the new Act? [As an input to other sub groups]

  • CPR is the foundation for selfhood, enjoyment and satisfaction with life, full citizenship and must be assured for all PDs. This means the enjoyment of rights to dignity, respect, autonomy, liberty.
  • CPR delivers better jurisprudence and is in fact the foundation of all justice and justice delivery. To have the non negotiable listed in the Act will guide the judiciary and monitoring bodies to take justice measures commensurate with disability experience.
  • SE rights delivered without CPR will perpetrate inequitable, welfare approach with associated 'beneficiary' driven values.
  • CPR is the foundation of human dignity for all PDs and especially for marginalized groups within disabilities.
  • CPR enhances the quality of human relationships and interdependence for all PDs and care giving cadres.
  • If CPR is not assured assurance of all other rights will stay compromised, as is the experience with PDA. It did not change ground realities for PDs.
  • The New Act must commit to resource and capacity development on CPR, and programs that will enhance CPR (e.g. creating peaceful neighbourhoods, stigma reduction programs)
  • Granting civil political rights for people with disabilities is making the way for a better world. This was reiterated throughout the discussions on all CPR. It is not just for PDs, but for everybody.
  • Half the significance of the UNCRPD definition of disability relates to CPR. The disability definition contains two aspects, one, the aspect of disability; the other, the presence of social and attitudinal barriers to the enjoyment of full rights. Social barriers are usually such that they rob the PDs of their civil political rights. Not enjoying civil political rights leads to the creation of disability or to lack of opportunities to develop full personhood for a large number of PDs, adding layers to disability or causing 'co occurring' disability. E.g. blindness with low self worth, leading to depression. Definition chapter must capture this aspect robustly.
  • Society meets all the basic needs of PDs and does its "duty". But the self related needs of a person such as respect, dignity, privacy, space for peace and quiet, companionship, etc. are not met. In some cases, expression of struggles and giving voice to one's self needs may actually result in the social and medical barriers becoming more rigid, as in the case persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities.
  • PDs who are assertive and voicing dissent run the risk of being labelled 'mentally ill' and treated involuntarily, as happened the case of women and homeless. Inequity and poor attitudes towards marginalized PDs must not lead to bringing down the standard of care and support for all PDs. Contra, marginalized PDs and affirmative rights for them must be the frame of reference for CPR driven disability act.
  • Disability certification (determination of disability) is the first critical contact between PWD and system. That step must be developed with sensitivity and integrity through team work and through suitable social mechanisms within the regulatory system. This function should not be totally given over to the medical doctors. [Input for the Definition sub group]


IV. Legal Capacity and Civil Political Rights

Legal capacity is the first principle for all civil political and socio economic rights. It is the essence for the entire new Act.

All articles in the New Act will be guided by the principles of Legal Capacity.

Legal capacity is the process to attain the product of CPR and SER, particularly non-discrimination (socio-economic rights) Annexure: (Diagram 1).

Legal capacity must be operationalised within the principle of inclusivity. Education is not the only area where 'inclusion / special' debate is relevant. In all areas of life, the Act should facilitate PD partnership with the mainstream. Since it is the barriers that cause the need for 'special' in society, those barriers must be addressed and dismantled.

Legal capacity will be energized only with commensurate constitutional support / changes.

Legal capacity is justiciable: Enforceability should be the key word; Monitoring, accountability, redressal, sanctions, penalties have to be provided in the new Act. "Protection of rights" is more appropriate usage in the context of CPR rather than "realization". For legal capacity to be enabled, DPOs must be strengthened by provisos on Right to Participation.

UNCRPD transition and ramping: Moving from point A (no recognition of legal capacity) to point B (full legal capacity) should also a legal and programmatic process and the Act must provide for this flow.

Decision making is a continuum from simple to critical decisions. Everybody has the capacity to make choices


High support and guardianship elicited much debate in the committee subgroup. There was unanimous agreement that people who get marginalized and excluded are those who may have a high support need and that their needs must be protected. The mechanism of protecting their rights led to an active debate on guardianship.

One view: What about that person who cannot make any choice? How will the implementer person in government service know how to implement if the Act does not define high support? Not mentioning high support in the Act will expose PWDs to vulnerabilities. Families are extremely anxious about removing guardianship. Their confidence must be built. Guardianship + provision for SDM should be there in the Act.

Other view: High support need is contextual and time bound. We must work with evolving concept of disability and provide opportunity. We should look at protections through the interrelation of different articles in the Act. Being low support or high support does not make the benefits higher or lower. For the government official this has no consequence. Support needed is the person's choice. He / she should have ways of expressing that choice. We must be skilled in receiving communication. Quality of life of all PWDs should be ensured. Equity rather than equality should be the principle operating here.

  • Guardianship should be removed. Supported decision making should be put in place.
  • The new Act must endeavour to enhance and protect individual autonomy.
  • The new Act must equally develop mechanisms to protect rights through regulatory and monitoring systems.
  • Point A to Point B from guardianship to supported decision making: The law must carefully lay out this process
  • The new Act must facilitate the capacity building of organisations and families, etc. on the new paradigm. This should be done meticulously, and in a timely manner.
  • Experiments and model building should be facilitated by the new Act. The Act must build the confidence of family members and provide skills in new paradigm of supported decision making.
  • Guardianship provisions related to disability found in other Acts must be reexamined (MHA, NTA, Trust Act) [Recommendation by Committee]
  • [Recommendation to the Children with disabilities group: Look at Guardianship Act from the standpoint of evolving capacities.]
  • The committee strongly recommends a study of guardianship practices. How have these provisions been utilised? [Article on Research and documentation: Recommendation]
  • Promote Self advocacy and assertion of PDs through community building programs. [Can figure in Awareness raising article as capacity building programs.]
  • If guardianship is removed, the legal barriers to forming associations of PDs will be automatically removed.
  • The new Act must provide for programs that will help to break stereotypes about 'high support needs' with family members and communities, and even among PDs. [Must figure in Awareness raising Article of new Act]
  • Once guardianship is removed, the new Act must provide for other kinds of legal instruments for protection and safeguards. We are clearly interested in the rights of the PD. We must ensure that having removed 'guardianship, what we put in place is not equally problematic. Safeguards from overprotection must be considered.
  • We must equip ourselves to be able to receive the communications of the child / PD through new skills building: the Right to be listened to is an important right in Right to Participation.

Annexure: Diagram [2] on intersections


V. Right to life and living

Every human being has the inherent right to life and should be provided with all needs and supports so that he / she is able to live and have a good quality of life.

  • The new Act must provide for all basic aspects of sustaining life and quality of life, on equal basis with others, such as food and balanced nutrition, clean water, fuel, housing, environmental health & hygiene, livelihood and social security.
  • All spaces offering services of any sort for persons with disabilities including residential care, health care, rehabilitation services, allied peripheral health, legal and other services must be conducive to enhance the quality of life of PDs on equal basis with others. Inclusivity should be a principle here, not 'special'.
    1. Such spaces must clearly provide information on the rights of PWDs who it is serving.
    2. The services must study and develop its own value base and 'good practices' in order to standardize the delivery of care.
    3. Continuing assessments of services, PD partnership in service evaluation, etc. must be encouraged by the Act.
    4. The Act must create some funds for the standardisation of ground level service delivery practices, their value base, delivery mechanisms, good practices and effectiveness.
  • Right to life includes the right to wellness including being well and staying well.
  • The new Act must recognize that PDs, equal to others, have dreams and aspirations, and to achieve a fulfilling life, must be able to take the necessary steps of taking risk, growth and learning, on a foundation of being well and staying well. The New Act must go beyond the 'functionality' model often used in the case of PDs, that if they are able to function on a daily routine and habit basis, that is enough. It must move into the aspirational mode. Health and rehabilitation efforts should sustain the aspirations of PDs. [Inputs for Right to health and rehabilitation subgroup]
  • The New Act must record, recognize and provide for a diversity of wellness services for PDs on equal basis with others, and on principles of inclusivity, including needed and appropriate nutritional, health care, hospice, community centers and retreats, fitness, social care, psychosocial, counselling and psychotherapeutic care, alternative, and all other as needed to enhance well being. [Inputs for Right to health and rehabilitation subgroup]
  • The new Act should criminalise the actions that amount to exclusion and neglect of basic needs and inappropriate societal practices by person or persons / family members / organisational / institutional managers (private and public) leading to aggravating the disability, diminishment of quality of life or to death. The new Act should impose penalties on the abetment of deeds leading to barriers being created for PDs.
  • Basic needs are not only physical and material needs, but also basic human intellectual (knowledge) and emotional needs. Quashing PDs' emotional life, dreams, desires and aspirations should also be treated as neglect of basic psychosocial and interdependence needs. [Article 21 jurisprudence] [Programs to change stereotypes and change attitudes of rehab experts- Awareness article]
  • The group suggests that the new act should refer to this right as "Right to Life and Living", as a way of promoting pro-life and the right to have one's life protected. [Recommendation from committee]
  • Further discussion on pro-life versus right to die led to the view that the law should provide for:
    1. Provision of all support measures which will maintain and enhance the dignity and quality of life.
    2. Also, provision of all support measures in natural settings of living for all people.
  • The self help project on quality of life (supported by World Bank) can be adopted at the state and the national level.
  • Right to life includes the right to experience self / develop one's own identity, right to an enabling psychosocial environment, where PD can thrive, such as love, care and affection, right to a sexual self, and the right to a spiritual self. Removal of legal, medical, social and other barriers to achievement of right to self and identity, and rights in these areas must be provided for.
  • The New Act should pronounce on the right to life of people living in institutions, and those PDs who are homeless or abandoned by family members.
  • Imaginative programs can be considered: Personalized care giver at home; volunteer base for home visits; people with empathetic listening skills; group living programs; peer support and networks; etc.
  • Stigma reduction programs, trainings, media campaigns, awareness, information and technology linked dissemination programs, capacity development of the communities, social audits and research (how has society moved, what changes have been put in place, what are the parameters for inclusion, etc.), strengthening of the judiciary, policy makers, good practices, universal design and reasonable accommodation, [MDGs can be adapted].
  • Funds must be clearly demarcated for CPR - LC linked interventions.
  • MTP Act - The subgroup discussed whether the right of the mother or right of the foetus should be protected. While making the new Act, the PNDT Act and the MTP need to be referred to. We are referring to these for protecting the rights of the person with disability. MTP should not be done on the basis of disability. Appropriate changes in MTP and PNDT should be brought about. Information to pregnant women, to adolescent girls, nutritional programs, etc.


VI. Right to liberty

  • The UNCRPD is unambiguous on the claim that deprivation of liberty cannot happen on the basis of disability.
  • Medico legal custodial institutions which deprive liberty on the basis of disability are not in the spirit of the UNCRPD. PWDA need not provide for special institutions.
  • Therefore a regulated program needs to be established in all disabilities so that there is a timely phasing out of custodial institutions, with tandem development of community services (community living programs, group homes, parents' committees, etc.) and social safeguards for the institutionalised persons. A 'ramping facility' needs to be provided in law so that people from institutions can come into the mainstream. [Input for Health and rehab group]
  • Institutions cannot be a permanent living option. [Input for Health and rehab group]
  • This must be seen in context linking with right to community living. Community living programs and activities must be inclusive. Model programs based on guidelines / best practices must be built. [Schedules must be provided in the Act]. [Input for Health and rehab group]
  • Long term living options for PDs - Right to service can be ensured only by government. Monitoring strategies should be strengthened. Quality of life must be assured. Group homes, community homes, etc. should not become one more place for dumping. Model programs based on guidelines / best practices must be built. [Rules and Schedules for long term living options.] [Input for Article on Community Living]
  • The rights of children with disabilities should be ensured by child protection laws.
  • These choices of group housing, community living, etc. are only illustrative, not exhaustive. Independent living means PDs live where they choose to live.
  • The law should dismantle barriers, but should allow for the making of policies and programs which facilitate right to life in community settings. (e.g. the Corporation Act, Beggary Act, Railways Act, Mental health Act, under which various special custodial institutions are run, is a huge barrier to community mental health and programs in natural settings).
  • Residential services on short term (a week to 10 days or so) on a hospice, recovery and retreat basis can be provided for, which are non custodial, offering a range of alternatives and catering to all the fitness and well being needs of all PDs. [Input for health and rehab team]
  • Integration into the public health system: All medical and tertiary care needs can be provided in an integrated manner through the strengthening of public health system. Capacity building of doctors, and all staff linked to the medical system is a must. Integration with MOHFW on this aspect must be dialogued about. [Input for rehab team]
  • The first time a person or family members recognize disability is a critical step where liberties are often compromised. Provisions must refer to preservation of right to liberty in the first instance where it is 'discovered'. Early intervention, diagnostic practices, and service delivery must be integrated and sensitive. In most of these interventions, children or young adults are involved, so developmental concerns must be kept in mind, ensuring quality of life in the long term, and protections from deskilling and from multiplying barriers (education, work, friendships, relationships, marriage, property, and other legal, social barriers) Input for health and rehabilitation subgroup.
  • All services must be provided in natural living environments to maximise community and family support for PDs.
  • To experience wellness, a non-violent (violence free) environment is a precondition. Programs to promote values of peace, love and non-violence in schools must be encouraged by the law. (e.g the No Plastic Bag, No Tobacco, campaigns have had much success in schools.)
  • The law must encourage programs that promote such values and practices in neighbourhoods, service programs, families, social groups as well as in public life in general.
  • As conflict is a justice issue, suitable judicial and parajudicial programs must be enabled which will provide for arbitrations and negotiations during situations of family conflict (Police are not the best persons to be doing this.)
  • Capacity building programs for Families and care providers on care giving / giving support (e.g. Aadi's 4 principles program focuses on dignity, having control over own decisions, purpose of life, and social network).
  • Trainings on right to life, liberty and living, and caring must be provided to doctors as well as part of their sensitisation.


VII. Right to spirituality (as part of right to life)

  • Religion and spirituality are different.
  • Spirituality includes values such as purpose to life; acceptance of the diversity of forms of life; respect for all life; dignity; accepting the other, accepting oneself; serving others; etc.)
  • Right to spirituality is strengthening our contact and involvement with the community. It must be seen in combination with right to participation, right to life, right to access, and to interdependence.
  • Access to religious spaces (being able to go into a church, be able to pray, etc.) to be provided for (e.g. people in wheelchairs cannot access most religious places)
  • Cultural practices may breach right to privacy (e.g. having to remove callipers). These must be dismantled.
  • Cultural practices may set up barriers to access (e.g. metal / leather not allowed in temples, prohibiting prosthetics)
  • Right to participate in a religious practice of one's choice within family and society.
  • Any cultural practice which excludes people with disabilities from participation should not be allowed. It could be local practice, and a diverse range of practices across different places


VIII. Right to privacy:

  • Privacy and having a boundary is central to anyone's experience of personhood. Not having an assurance of privacy leads to loss of dignity, shaming, and disrespect.
  • Reasonable accommodation and necessary support must factor in personalized needs for privacy. The balance between disclosure and privacy is a matter to be decided by PWD if necessary with support group, including family.
  • Protection of privacy in personal hygiene and self care within the home environment is a must.
  • Privacy needs must be addressed by balancing need for being alone, and need for being supported. Neglect on the one hand must be balanced by overprotection on the other hand.
  • Sexual identity and needs of PWDs also brings up issues of privacy (e.g. case study of woman with disability put into a room with lots of male cousins).
  • Media, courts, printed and electronic channels, movies, medical and other kinds of health services must assure privacy. Use of private information in media, courts and medical services must be regulated. (Case study of woman with mental illness whose privacy was invaded for weeks by a local newspaper in Maharashtra.)
  • Medical services must assure privacy in routine delivery of health and mental health care. Often only families are consulted, not PWD.
  • Privacy in situations of medical emergencies must be assured.
  • Ministry website having names and other details of PWDs must be edited out.
  • This section, as other rights, assumes legal capacity.
  • Illustrative programs: All courses, including professional courses, must include trainings on aspects of respect for privacy, dignity, personal integrity.
  • PWD should be provided with information and learning so that they know what choices to make on privacy.
  • Designing of group homes and other community living options should consider personal space requirements and privacy needs.
  • In the rural set up, personal care, hygiene, (especially women with disabilities), toilets etc. must be looked at (Development issue).
  • Privacy in work and public places must be considered.
  • There must be a mechanism that should look at whether reasonable accommodation is being monitored.
  • Work places should have policy on disability.


IX. Rights against Abuse and exploitation:

  • This right should be read against and harmonized against the right to non discrimination, right to integrity, right to consent / health.
  • Abuse and exploitation as defined in other acts such as DVA, sexual harassment act, SCST atrocities Act, etc. can be considered. CrPC provisions can be considered. UN Convention against torture for definition of torture. Found in UNCRPD preamble.
  • The new Act must consider that medical environments can be abusive and exploitative. Medical ethics references must be made to prevent the use of inhuman, degrading and torturous practices. There must be active dialogue with MOHFW to take up this aspect of best practices seriously. Such concerns must also reflect in the Health and Rehab articles of this new Act.
  • Some focus on the higher risks of women, children (both boys and girls), elderly and multiply vulnerable PWDs to abuse.
  • 1974 policy on children is presently under review. How are we going to influence national policy on children from a disability perspective?
  • There is absolutely no cover for the disabled street child and women with disabilities who are homeless. Creating support systems (soup kitchens, night shelters, spaces for personal hygiene in their natural environment is a must.)
  • Benefits for the child with disability could be covered by the PWDA.


X. Right to integrity:

  • Right to integrity is about personal identity. The 'RIGHT TO BE YOU' and the barriers to that. Right to affirm oneself as a whole person in a physical and mental sense.
  • Articles (12, 17) must be read together.
  • The new Act must ensure the safety of occupying one's own personal space. Good touch / bad touch, illustratively, is significant for people in wheel chairs or those being led. Every PWD would have experience of lacking safety in one's personal environment.
  • Refer to standard interpretation of integrity in other human rights acts and jurisprudence.
  • Right to integrity is linked with right to privacy, liberty, freedom of expression, right to be protected from violence, abuse and exploitation.
  • Within the context of medical services, right to integrity is linked to right to liberty, right to consent, right to choice, and right to services in the natural settings, and right to be protected from abuse and violence, and right to protection from inhuman, degrading and torturous treatments.
  • Right to integrity includes both bodily and mental integrity (e.g. domestic violence Act recognizes the latter.)
  • Right to integrity must be equally assured in case of people who are homeless and within institutions, both private and public.
  • All laws, policies and practices must be rectified immediately, wherever it is there, which sets up barriers to the right to integrity.


XI. Right to freedom of expression

  • The PWD should have the freedom to express oneself in any way they choose to.
  • All modes and forms of expression of PWDs to be accepted / recognized.
  • The views and opinions of PWDs expressed should be accepted and not be judged or criticised. Validation and affirmation of what PWDs express, and the right to be listened to, should be provided for.
  • Language as a system of communication is based on cognitive ability. Social and Emotional communication (e.g. receiving or giving a hug) is also to be developed to foster interdependence.
  • Personal assistance and supports to be provided for expressing oneself.
  • Various fora should be made available for them to express their views.
  • This right must be read it along with what is provided for in the constitution.
  • The new Act must facilitate the strengthening of the existing national institutes for innovation in communication for disabilities. More research on AAC to allow for total communication methods and technologies suited for the same.
  • People's creativity is a way of communication. Care givers, and supported networks must attend to creative expression with equal seriousness. The Act must facilitate good 'reception' and listening skills of care givers.
  • Communication should be across domains, cultures, linguistic backgrounds, individualised forms of expression, non verbal communication, metaphorical communication, etc.
  • The provisions for communication must not be treated as some kind of filling a gap or deficit. As human beings we do have a huge repertoire of expressing ourselves, albeit most of never use most of these imaginative, intuitive and sensory faculties, depending primarily on spoken or written language.
  • Freedom of expression creates an atmosphere of support and care for the larger community. It helps in creating tolerant, adaptive and caring cultures. It creates safe emotional environments.
  • Freedom of expression must be established in medical contexts, without it being considered as a further symptom of disability.
  • We must be enabled to talk about the right to "emotionally safe" environments and the access to that. What would be 'emotionally safe communication', which will break barriers between people to connect? Programs on assertive communication, creative communication, non violent communication, holding dialogues and trialogues, etc. can be fostered by the Act.
  • The concept of 'communication' must be looked at more broadly, as helping people connect with each other in a meaningful and empathetic way.


XII. Right of Access to Justice:

  • Justice system is the key holder of CPR and LC for PWDs. The Act must provide for intersections with judiciary.
  • There was a discussion on improving the caring capabilities of the judicial system, which is a highly cognitive system. Emotional intelligence of this system to be addressed, by finding sensitive judges and influencing them to instil sensitivities. Capacity building of the judiciary is a must.
  • Right of Access to Justice will be realized by accessibility of communication at all levels, right from police level, to the level of supreme court. Accessible formats and language: AAC, interpreters, Braille, sign and tactile language, personal assistance, or any other mode of communication.
  • Recognition of legal capacity, reasonable accommodations and supported decision making should be in place while accessing justice.
  • Capacity building with different cadres on disability should aim to develop empathy, listening skills and other qualities of relating with society and with PWDs and not just be on basic information.
  • Access includes [1] Access to take action against a wrong doer and [2] Access to the judicial system.
  • All laws must presume / recognize / respect the full legal capacity of all people including PWDs.
  • Block level legal service authority must be sensitised to human rights of all peoples including people with disabilities.
  • Prison and police authorities must be trained in disabilities.
  • Accessible judicial systems must be available at the block level, deployment of personnel and resources. Refer Human Rights Acts and structures and services therein (State, District Human Rights Courts).
  • Lok adalats, gram nyalaya, juvenile courts and ADRs must be sensitized.
  • Right of Access to justice for PWDs must be included into all legal trainings, curriculum at LLM level, trainings of judges in training, all cadres of the judiciary including advocates.
  • Institutions such as NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) would need to examine the National Legal Services Authorities Act, and refurbish the system and services on principles of inclusion and access to justice for PWD, made to comply with UNCRPD. Legal courts linked with LSAA should be looked at and strengthened.
  • All legal services, private and public, should be disability sensitive.
  • Physical access to the courts or to any judicial system must be immediately done.
  • Various commissions can be activated on disabilities; HR commissions, women's commissions, minority, child rights, SC, ST, backward.
  • Research on AAC should be developed vis a viz judicial systems and the access to justice.
  • PWDs testimonial (e.g. blind people's and deaf people's testimonies) must be accepted in courts as evidence.
  • Quasi judicial systems and authorities (e.g. family court, Tribunals, Commissionerates, higher level people in civil service, etc.) must be trained as well on disability sensitivities.
  • To address the issue of personnel, the new Act must create cadres of paralegal professionals and volunteers.
  • Research and documentation on Disability law and case work in the Indian context. A Glossary on disability and law will be useful.

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