The Supreme Court is baffled by the dismal implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act

The Supreme Court on Monday lamented that the implementation of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPWD Act) across India remains dismal despite more than five years having passed since the enactment of the law.Seema Girija Lal and anr vs. Union of India and ors).

A bench of justice, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala noted that many states have not even framed regulations under the law, which was supposed to be done within six months of its enactment.

Many states have not even framed rules under the law, which was supposed to be done within six months… We believe that the status of implementation of the law should be restored. The Department of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) will discuss the matter with all colleagues and report to this court for compliance”, said the Court.

The Court also noted today that it has already issued several orders calling for proper implementation of the law.

The Court was dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the setting up of district-level committees to enforce the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

The Court had sought the response from the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in this case last year.

During today’s hearing, the Supreme Court noted that several states and Union Territories are yet to fulfill their obligations under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.

The Court took critical note, among others, of the following shortcomings:

– The States of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have not appointed Commissioners required to be appointed under the Act;

– The governments of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram, West Bengal, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have not yet created funds as required under Section 88 of the Act.

– The governments of Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal did not have special courts for speedy trial of crimes under the law, or public prosecutors to be appointed to try such cases.

– The Governments of Chhattisgarh and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu do not have public prosecutors required to handle cases involving offenses punishable under law.

– The government of Chhattisgarh has not constituted any review committees.

– The governments of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands do not have assessment committees to provide necessary facilities.

The Court has now called for measures to be taken to address these problems. The case will be heard in the second week of July.