Duties of the Establishment & Employers under the new Indian Disability Law
According to the new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 along with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017 (together, the “Disability Law”), the definition of establishment includes both Governmental and private establishments. As per the new law, establishments have certain duties towards People with Disabilities, as follows:
Equal Opportunity Policy
Every establishment must have in place an ‘Equal Opportunities Policy’. This policy must be published for PwDs preferably on the establishment’s website. However, if that is not possible, then the establishment must publish the policy at conspicuous places in their premises. A copy of the policy must be registered with the Chief Commissioner or the State Commissioner, depending on the case.
Facilities and Amenities
Establishments must provide PwDs facilities and amenities to enable them to effectively discharge their duties in the establishment. They must also be provided assistive devices, barrier-free accessible spaces and other required provisions.
Rules for Accessibility
Every establishment shall comply with the following standards relating to physical environment, transport and information and communication technology, namely:-
- Standard for public buildings as specified in the Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Built Environment for Persons With Disabilities and Elderly Persons as issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Urban Development in March, 2016;
- Standard for Bus Body Code for transportation system as specified in the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, vide number G.S.R. 895(E), dated the 20th September, 2016;
- Information and Communication Technology- website standard as specified in the guidelines for Indian Government websites, as adopted by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India;
- documents to be placed on websites shall be in Electronic Publication (ePUB) or Optical Character Reader (OCR) based pdf format:
- Provided that the standard of accessibility in respect of other services and facilities shall be specified by the Central Government within a period of six months from the date of notification of these rules.
- The respective Ministries and Departments shall ensure compliance of the standards of accessibility specified under this rule through the concerned domain regulators or otherwise.
An establishment must provide a list of posts suitable for persons with disabilities that they have made available. They must also record the manner in which persons with disabilities are selected for various posts, as well as post-recruitment and pre-promotion training, preference in transfer and posting, special leave, preference in allotment of residential accommodation if any, and other facilities.
Appointment of Liaison Officer
Establishments must appoint a liaison officer to look after the recruitment of persons with disabilities and provisions of facilities
Maintenance of Records
Every establishment must maintain records containing the details of the number of persons with disabilities who are employed, the date from when they are employed, as well their name, gender and address. The establishment must also record the nature of their disability; the work they are doing and the facilities that the establishment provides for them.
These records and the relevant information should be produced for inspection when the relevant authorities under the RPwD Act demands so. This to ensure that establishments are complying with provisions of the Act.
The records must contain the following particulars:
- the number of persons with disabilities who are employed and the date from when they are employed;
- the name, gender and address of persons with disabilities;
- the nature of disability of such persons;
- the nature of work being rendered by such employed person with disability; and
- the kind of facilities being provided to such persons with disabilities.
Penalties for Contravention
Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who was in charge of and/or responsible for the commission of the misconduct shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
Establishments with less than twenty employees can chose to display the facilities and amenities that they have provided for People with Disabilities. All other provisions of the law regarding employment, appointment of liaison officer, maintenance of records are optional for establishments with less than ten employees.
Duties of Educational Institutions towards Students with Disabilities
All educational institutions, funded or recognised by the government or local authorities must ensure that they provide inclusive education (wherein students with out without disabilities can learn together) to children with disabilities. The duties of educational institutions towards children of disabilities are:
Ending Discrimination and Promoting Inclusion:
All educational institutes should ensure that children with disabilities are treated without discrimination and provide necessary support to them. They must also provide an environment where the children with disabilities can maximize their academic and social development consistent with the goal of full inclusion.
Infrastructure and Facilities:
All educational institutions must ensure that they make accessible buildings, campus and various facilities accessible as well as provide reasonable accommodation according to the individual’s requirements. They must also be provided with transportation and in some cases, an attendant if the child has high support (i.e. any form of intensive support) needs.
In order to overcome specific learning disabilities, education institutions must take measures to detect them at the earliest. Other pedagogical changes such as ensuring that the education to persons who are blind or deaf or both is imparted in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication. Children with disabilities must also be provided with education and sports and recreation opportunities.
Education institutions must ensure that they monitor participation and progress in terms of attainment levels and completion of education in respect of every student with disability.
Special Provisions for Children with Benchmark Disabilities:
Every child with benchmark disability between the age of six to eighteen years shall have the right to free education in a neighborhood school, or in a special school, of his choice. The persons with benchmark disabilities are also entitled to receive upper age relaxation of five years for admission in institutions of higher education.
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Author: This post has been submitted by Moksha Sharma, as part of her assignment with Ungender Insights. Moksha Sharma is currently a student of Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat.