Implement RPWD Act in 5 months: Guwahati High Court tells Nagaland government
Here is some great news for people with disabilities in Nagaland. The Guwahati High Court has ordered the state government to ensure that the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 are implemented in the state at the earliest.
The Kohima Bench of Guwahati High Court has asked the Nagaland government to take the necessary actions within five months and pave the way to implement the RPWD Act in the state.
This is a huge development for the disabled community of the state as so far the state government has not taken any major steps to issue guidelines for the implementation of the Act. This is unfortunate considering the fact that the RPWD Act came into being in 2016 and is still not implemented.
State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Diethono Nakhro spoke to Newz Hook about the court’s order.
As a disability rights activist, I constantly urged the government to work on the implementation of the RPWD Act. I am very happy that the court has given this order and I am hopeful that we will be able to bring about some positive changes soon. As the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, I am working towards making the state more accessible for people with disabilities and making sure that their rights are upheld. Diethono Nakhro, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities Nagaland.
Guwahati High Court gave the much awaited order while hearing the case of a visually impaired petitioner. The petitioner had raised the issue that the Government of Nagaland had failed to reserve job postings for people with disabilities as per the provisions of the RPWD Act 2016.
This lapse has been adversely affecting the employment prospects of candidates with disabilities who are applying for jobs in government departments but are not being given the benefits of job reservations.
“The question is should the persons belonging to disable category like the petitioner in this case continue to be deprived of their rights provided under the new Act of 2016 and their rights under Article 14, 16 and 21 of the Constitution of India just because appropriate rules or notifications or memorandums for implementation of the provisions of Act have not been framed and notified, that too after the lapse of 2 to 3 years from the date of coming into force of the Act of 2016 and can this Court ignored or turn a blind eye to such a fact and situation,” the High Court Bench said.
It is to be noted that under the RPWD Act 2016, Section 34 (I) , “Every appropriate government shall appoint in every government establishment, not less than four percent of the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts meant to be filled by persons with benchmark disabilities.”
The RPWD Act, 2016 was passed three years ago and is a change maker for millions of people with disabilities in India. The law can bring about the much needed change in the lives of people with disabilities. It has provisions that ensure that people with disabilities are treated equally in society and their rights are protected under the Constitution. The RPWD Act 2016 also recognizes 21 disabilities as compared seven in the earlier Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995.
Diethono Nakhro also feels that there is a huge lack of awareness about the rights of people with disabilities not just in government officials, departments but also amongst the disabled community. She feels that it is important that people should be aware of their rights and not shy away from demanding what is rightfully theirs.