Saturday, June 03, 2006

Anuradha Mohit on the rights of persons with disability

The Act provides for three per cent reservation in government aided and run educational institutions. Is this being implemented?

There was a debate on whether the provision for three per cent reservation in the Persons with Disabilities Act extended to seats in government-run and aided educational institutions. The courts have clarified that it does. The academic sector has been the most insensitive in [the] requirement for affirmative action for the disabled. It was very difficult to convince the IITs that reserving three per cent of their seats for the disabled would not compromise on excellence. When the National Law School in Bangalore rejected a low-vision candidate, the student concerned took the matter to the Karnataka High Court, which gave a favourable verdict. Even in the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools it was difficult to get this implemented.

From this interview of Anuradha Mohit, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Special Rapporteur on Disability, by the Hindu's Siddharth Narrain.

A little later in the same interview:

What is the preferred terminology to refer to disabled persons?

By and large people prefer to use the term "persons with disability" when it comes to law and policy. Half of our energy is spent on coining the right terminology, which I think is a futile exercise. If you ask disabled people like me, we are very happy being called disabled people. From a political perspective I prefer the term "disabled people" — the underlying assumption is that we have the ability, but this has been disabled due to external circumstances.


  1. Anonymous said...


    Is reservations the answer to everything?

    Sorry Anuradha, I dont buy this. This way soon we will have 99% reservation with little pies carved up for everyone.

  2. Anonymous said...

    It has been implemented in Tamil Nadu both at the UG level as well as at the PG level this year

  3. Anonymous said...

    In Tamil Nadu Medical College Admissions... .(Sorry this was left in the last comment)

  4. Anonymous said...

    Years ago when I used to work for a consulting firm (that advised clients on recruitment) I received a resume forwarded by my brother-in-law (a decorated IAF veteran). The candidate (a disabled IAF veteran) had lost the use of his legs after a bad accident (non-flying). Althought the IAF provided him a desk bound job he had decided not to accept it and instead wanted to find something on his own. After caling the candidate we decided to meet at my office. On the appointed day I received a message from our receptionist that my visitor had arrived and was waiting to see me. When I walked out into the reception area I was surprised not to find my visitor. I was told that he was waiting at the ground floor (we worked out of the 2nd floor of that building). Still nothing seemed out of place. I walked down the stairs to be greeted by my visitor who was in a wheelchair. We did not have a lift in the premises and there was obviously no way he could have wheeled himself up the stairs. But still this person refused to make an issue of it. The branch manager of the bank on the ground floor was kind nough to offer us the use of his office for our discussion. I was not able to help my candidate. But he made me realise how we are insensitive to the needs of the disabled. While we are trying to help them through measures such as reservations we are not doing much to make the physical environment more suited to their needs. Few of oour buildings have a wheelchair ramps (except hospitals). Getting in and out of buses and trains can be quite difficult. WHile there are kind people everywhere who will help without a second thought how much better it would be if our spaces were more disabled friendly, leaving our differently abled friends to go about their work on their own. And yes, I know what will happen; there will be a lot of heat and noise in the LS and an Act will be passed, after which everything will be forgotten.

  5. Anonymous said...

    I do not mean to differentiate between a decorated veteran and a disabled veteran, and neither do the armed forces. If it seemed so the mistake is mine.