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The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995


The Persons with Disabilities Act

The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 was enacted in 1995 to give effect to the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of the People with Disability in the Asian & Pacific Region (Beiijing 1992). The aims and objectives of the Act are:

  • To spell out the responsibility of the state towards the prevention of disabilities, protection of rights, provision of medical care, education, training, employment and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities;
  • To create a barrier free environment for person with disabilities in the sharing of development benefits, vis-a –vis non disabled persons;
  • To counteract any situation of abuse and exploitation of persons with disabilities; and
  • To make special provision of the integration of persons with disabilities into the social mainstream.

Blindness and low vision has been included in the definition of disability. (Section 2 (b) (u)

Obligations on governments

In order to achieve its aims and objectives the act imposes obligations on the appropriate governments (central, state and local governments) in the following areas:

  • prevention and early detection of disabilities (Section 25)
  • providing equality in education (Section 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31)
  • providing equality in employment (Section 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 47)
  • providing affirmative action programmes in providing aids and appliances to persons with disabilities and preferential allotment of land at concessional rates for housing,

setting up businesses
setting up of special schools
establishment of research centres
establishment of factories by entrepreneurs with 
disabilities (Section 42, 43)

  • providing non-discrimination by removing physical barriers (Section 44, 45, 46)
  • providing research manpower development (Section 48, 49)
  • setting up institutions for persons with disabilities (Section 52)
  • providing social security for the disabled (Section 56, 67, 68)


Prevention and early detection of disabilities

In order to prevent the occurrence of disabilities, the appropriate government authorities have to (within their economic capacity and development):

  • undertake surveys, investigations and research concerning the cause of occurrence of disabilities
  • promote various methods of preventing disabilities
  • screen all the children at least once in a year for the purpose of identifying “at risk” cases
  • provide facilities for training to the staff at the primary health centres
  • sponsor awareness campaigns and disseminate information on general hygiene, health and sanitation,
  • take measures for pre-natal and post-natal care of mother and child;
  • educate the public through the pre-schools, schools, primary health centres, village level workers and anganwadi workers;
  • create awareness amongst the masses through television, radio and other mass media on the causes of disabilities and the preventive measures to be adopted. (Section 25)



In order to provide equal opportunities for the disabled in education, the appropriate government and local authorities have been entrusted with:

  • Ensuring that every child with disabilities have access to free education in an appropriate environment till 18 years of age.
  • Promoting the integration of students with disabilities in normal schools.
  • Promoting setting up of special schools in government and private sector in such a manner that children with disabilities living in any part of the country have access to such schools and equip these schools with vocational training facilities.
  • Conducting part-time classes in respect of children with disabilities who having completed education up to class fifth and could not continue their studies on a whole-time basis;
  • Conducting special part-time classes for providing functional literacy for children in the age group of sixteen and above;
  • Imparting non-formal education by utilizing the available manpower in rural areas after giving them appropriate orientation;
  • Imparting education through open schools or open universities;
  • Conducting class and discussions through interactive electronic or other media;
  • Providing every child with disability free of cost special books and equipments needed for his education. (Section 27)


Comprehensive schemes are to be prepared by the government for:

  • Transport facilities to the children with disabilities or in the alternative financial incentives to parents or guardians to enable their children with disabilities to attend schools.
  • The removal of architectural barriers from schools, Colleges or other institution, imparting vocational and professional training;
  • The supply of books, uniforms and other materials to children with disabilities attending school.
  • The grant of scholarship to students with disabilities.
  • Setting up of appropriate forums for the redressal of grievances of parent, regarding the placement of disabled children;
  • Suitable modification in the examination system to eliminate purely mathematical questions for the benefit of blind students and students with low vision;
  • Restructuring of curriculum for the benefit of children with disabilities.


All education institutions have to provide amanuensis to blind students and students with low vision (Section 30, 31)

All government educational institutions and other educational institutions receiving aid from the government are to reserve not less than 3 per cent of its seats for disabled persons. (Section 39) But also see: State of Kerala v. Mary Joseph, (2001) 3 Kerala Law Times 26

To implement the educational rights of the disabled to the full extent the appropriate Government are to set up adequate teachers' training institutions and assist the national institutes and other voluntary organisations to develop teachers' training programmes specializing in disabilities, so that requisite trained manpower is available for special schools and integrated schools for children with disabilities. (Section 29) It is also entrusted with the duty of initiating research by official and non-governmental agencies for the purpose of designing and developing new assistive devices, teaching aids, special teaching materials or such other items as are necessary to give a child with disability equal opportunities in education. (Section 28)



The appropriate governments are to identify posts in government establishments, which can be reserved for disabled persons and review the list of posts at periodic intervals (not exceedingly three years) (Section 32)

At least 3 percent of vacancies in every government establishment are to be reserved for persons with disabilities. Out of which 1 per cent each shall be reserved for persons suffering from blindness or low vision and the other 2 percent for persons with hearing impairment and loco motor disability or cerebral palsy. But the central government may exempt any establishment from the above requirements if the nature of work in such establishments is such that disabled persons are unable to work in such establishments.(Section 33)

If a vacancy cannot be filled up due to non-availability of a suitable disabled person, the vacancy is to be carried forward to the next recruitment year and if in that next recruitment year, a suitable person with disability is not found, the post is to be filled by an interchange of categories of disabled persons. Only if there is no suitable disabled person available for the job, can an able person be employed. (Section 37)


In order to ensure employment of disabled persons, schemes are to be formulated by the appropriate government for:

  • the training and welfare of persons with disabilities;
  • the relaxation of upper age limit;
  • regulating the employment;
  • health and safety measures and creation of a non-handicapping environment in places where persons with disabilities are employed;
  • the manner in which and the person by whom the cost of operating the schemes is to be defrayed; and
  • constituting the authority responsible for the administration of the scheme. (Section 38)

Government establishments are not allowed to dispense with or reduce in rank, an employee who acquires a disability during his service. (Section 47) (Syed Sha Musebulla Alvi v. Sectionretary, G.A.D, Sectionretariat, Hyderabad, (1999) 2 Andhra Law Times 130). If disabled during the service tenure, the employee is not suitable for the post he was holding, he/she can be shifted to another post with the same pay and service benefits. (Section 47) (Kunal Singh v. Union of India and Another, (2003) 4 Supreme Court Cases 524). If it is not possible to adjust the employee against any post, the employee is to be kept in a supplementary post until a suitable post is available or he/she attains the age of superannuity whichever is earlier. A disabled employee cannot be denied a promotion on the basis of his disability except in conditions to be notified, where a disabled cannot perform certain functions. (Section 47)

The government can set up a special employment exchange under Section 34 , and direct all establishments to the employment exchange of details of vacancies that arise for person with disabilities.


Affirmative action

The appropriate governments have to frame schemes to provide aids and appliances to disabled persons. (Section 42) Special schemes are to be notified for the preferential allotment of land at confessional rates for:

  • Housing
  • Setting up business
  • Setting up special recreational centres
  • Establishment of special schools
  • Establishment of research centres
  • Establishment of factories by entrepreneurs with disabilities (Section 43)



In order to create a physical barrier free environment for disabled persons, the appropriate governments or local authorities have to (in their economic capacity and development) take special measures to:

  • Adapt rail compartments, buses. vessels and aircrafts in such a way as to permit easy access to such persons;
  • Adapt toilets in rail compartments, vessels, aircrafts and waiting rooms in such a way as to permit the wheel chair users to use them conveniently. (Section 44)
  • Install auditory signals at red lights in the public roads for the benefit of persons with visually handicap;
  • Make curb cuts and slopes in pavements for the easy access of wheel chair users;
  • Engrave the surface of the zebra crossing for the blind or for persons with low vision;
  • Engrave the edges of railway platforms for the blind or for persons with low vision;
  • Devise appropriate symbols of disability;
  • Provide warning signals at appropriate places.(Section 45)
  • Provide ramps in public buildings;
  • Provide Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts;
  • Provide ramps in hospitals, primary health centers and other medical care and rehabilitation institutions.(Section 46)


Research and manpower development

The appropriate government and local authorities are entrusted with sponsoring and promoting research in following areas:

  • prevention of disability;
  • rehabilitation including community based rehabilitation;
  • development of assistive devices including their psycho-social aspects;
  • job identification;
  • on site modifications in offices and factories. (Section 48)

Universities, other institutions of higher learning, professional bodies and non-governmental organisations that undertake research on special education, rehabilitation and manpower development are to be provided financial assistance by appropriate governments for undertaking research for education, rehabilitation and manpower development. (Section 49)


Institution for persons with severe disabilities

The concerned government may establish and maintain institutions for persons with severe disabilities at such places it thinks fit or recognise any private institution. (Section 56)


Social security

While formulating rehabilitation policies the appropriate governments have to consult non-governmental organisations working in the field of disability. Within their economic capacity and development they are to undertake rehabilitation of all disabled persons for which financial assistance shall be given non-governmental organisations working in the fields of disability. (Section 66)

Insurance schemes or alternate security schemes are to be framed by the appropriate government for the benefit of its employees with disabilities. (Section 67)

Schemes are also to be framed for payment of an unemployment allowance to persons with disabilities that are registered with the special employment exchange for more than two years and have not been placed in any gainful occupation. (Section 68)


Implementation agencies

The act has set up a central coordination committee at the national level to serve as a national focal point for disability matters to facilitate the continuous evaluation of a comprehensive policy towards solving the problems faced by disabled the persons. (Section 8) At the state level a state coordination committees have been set up. (Section 13) . To assist the central coordination committee and state coordination committees, a central executive committee (Section 10) and a state coordination committee have been set up. (Section 23)

The Chief Commissioner and Commissioners for persons with disabilities have to safe guard the rights of persons with disabilities and submit reports to the government on implementation of the act. (Sections 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65)

If there is any violation of the act, the aggrieved person can approach the head of the establishment under which he/she is employed or the Chief Commissioner or the Commissioner for Persons With Disabilities or the High court under article 226 of the Constitution of India or the Supreme Court under article 32 of the Constitution of India or even the National or State Human Rights Commissions.


You can read the Act in its entirety by clicking here.

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