Date: 5 November, 2020
by Sakshi Verma, UILS, Panjab University
RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2016
The Act replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 disabilities.
Persons with "benchmark disabilities" are defined as those certified to have at least 40 per cent of the disabilities mentioned in the list.
Reservation in higher education (not less than 5%), government jobs (not less than 4 %), reservation in allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes (5% allotment) etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
In order to strengthen the Prime Minister's Accessible India Campaign, stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.
Any person who violates provisions of the Act, or any rule or regulation made under it, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to six months and/ or a fine of Rs 10,000, or both. Subsequent violation would invite imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs five lakh can be awarded.
Moreover, if any person who intentionally insults or intimidates a person with disability, or sexually exploits a woman or child with disability, shall be punishable with imprisonment between six months to five years and fine.
Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.
THE MENTAL HEALTH CARE ACT, 2017
After the assent of the President in April, 2017 the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 came into effect replacing the Mental Health Act, 1987.
The new act defines ‘mental illness’ as a “substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation, or memory that grossly impairs judgment or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life, mental conditions associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs.”
Decriminalisation of Attempt to Suicide: Section 115(1) states that notwithstanding anything contained in Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said code.
Few procedures which seem against human rights and are too cruel are prohibited exclusively. Such procedures make mental healthcare seem to be an entirely gruesome experience but it is important for the patients to be aware that these procedures are forbidden and that they should not be scared anymore and come forth with the treatment in a positive attitude.
Electro-convulsive therapy without the use of muscle relaxants and anesthesia,
Electro-convulsive therapy for minors,
Sterilization of men or women, when such sterilization is intended as a treatment for mental illness,
Chained in any manner or form whatsoever.
INCOME TAX CONCESSIONS
Relief for Handicapped:
Section 80 DD: Section 80 DD of the Income Tax Act, 1961 accommodates an allowance in regard to the expenditure by an individual or Hindu Undivided Family citizen in India on the clinical treatment training and so on of handicapped dependants. For administering the expanded expense of such support, the limit of the deduction has been raised from Rs.12000/ - to Rs.20000/.
Section 80 V: A new section 80V has been introduced in the Income Tax Act, 1961 to ensure that the parent in whose hands income of a permanently disabled minor has been clubbed under Section 64, is allowed to claim a deduction upto Rs.20000/- in terms of Section 80 V.