Accessibility August 13, 2020
TN’s Differently Abled Welfare Department slammed for cancelling disability certificates in violation of RPWD Act
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 was amended such that disability certificates are valid across India. Yet the Department of Welfare of Differently Abled Persons in Tamil Nadu is harassing the disabled community by cancelling disability certificates even when they shift within the state.
Tamil Nadu’s Department of Welfare of Differently Abled Persons is clearly in the dark when it comes to many provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016.
This is after frequent complaints of department officials cancelling disability certificates when a person shifts to a different district within the state of Tamil Nadu. This is when Section 58(3) of the RPWD Act clearly states that the disability certificate is valid across the country. Earlier the concessions and schemes of the State where the certificate was issued were only applicable. This changed with the amendment to the Act.
The most recent complaint came from a visually impaired young woman who was issued a disability certificate in 2010 at Thoothukudi, a city in Tamil Nadu. After marriage she moved to Thiruvanmiyur in the same state. When she approached the local office of the Department of Welfare of Differently Abled Persons to avail of a scheme, she was told to apply for a new disability certificate as she had shifted to a place. Petitions to higher level authorities met with the same response.
Many such cases in Tamil Nadu, say activists
The matter has been taken up by the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC).
The Department of Welfare of Differently Abled Persons even has a prescribed pro forma for cancelling the old disability certificate! How can a specific department set up and mandated to address the rights of persons of disabilities be this ignorant about the RPWD Act? There is a state commissioner and a separate body set up and yet the ignorance is so blatant! – S Namburajan, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers
TARATDAC says it has received many such complaints from persons with disabilities across the state.
“The excuse the department offers is that they are maintaining separate serial numbers across districts and hence a new disability certificate has to be issued every time”, adds Namburajan. “The Differently Abled Welfare Department officials have to safeguard the rights of the disabled, as per the Act, but the insensitivity of this department’s officials is shocking!”
The Universal Disability Identity Card (UDID) came about as a result of the relentless done by the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD). “It was at our insistence that the provision under Section 58(3) of the validity of the disability certificate across the country was inserted”, adds Muralidharan Vishwanath, General Secretary, NPRD. “This is a clear case of violation of the law in letter and spirit”.
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