Finally, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has framed the Jammu and Kashmir Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules 2021, in order to ensure the smooth implementation of Central laws aimed at promoting and protecting the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in various aspects of life. In the rules, every aspect relating to rights and entitlements, limited guardianship, education and employment of persons with disabilities has been taken care of and timelines fixed so that they don’t face any sort of difficulty. In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-Section 1 of Section 101 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has made the rules notified on 15th March 2021 in order to ensure the effective implementation of the Central Law and the same have been notified by the Social Welfare Department and the rules are now called as J&K Rights of PWDs Rules 2021. The highlights of the said rules are as under:
- As per the rules, the head of every establishment will ensure that provisions of the law are not misused to deny any right or benefit to persons with disabilities covered under the Act and initiate action on the receipt of a complaint from an aggrieved person regarding discrimination on the ground of disability.
- If the aggrieved person submits a complaint to the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, the same shall be disposed of within a period of 30 days.
- Government shall frame a state-level committee for research on disability with members from Health, Education, Social Welfare and organisations working in the field of PWDs.
- Chief Judicial Magistrates, after satisfaction as per prevailing laws, is competent to grant limited guardianship to PWDs.
- Moreover, every government establishment will appoint an officer not below the rank of a gazetted officer as Grievance Redressal Officer to look into the grievances of persons with disabilities.
- A nodal officer will be designated in each Chief Education Office of the Department of School Education, every urban local body, and in both the Directorates of Social Welfare within three months to deal with all matters relating to the admission of children with disabilities and the facilities to be provided to them in schools in accordance with the provisions of the Act
- Board of School Education will develop training courses and also facilitate training of teachers in basic Braille-sign language and special education within one year of the notification of the Rules and shall also take steps to develop a syllabus and learning material in audio and visual formats.
- As far as employment and vacancies for persons with benchmark disabilities are concerned, every establishment will publish an equal opportunity policy for persons with disabilities within a period of six months from the notification of these Rules.
- Every government establishment in order to give effect to the reservation provided to the persons with disability as provided in Section 34 of the Act will take into account four percent of the total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts for the purpose of computation of vacancies for the persons with benchmark disabilities.
- Moreover, while issuing advertisements to fill up vacancies, every government establishment will indicate the number of vacancies reserved for each class of persons with benchmark disabilities in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The reservation for persons with disabilities in accordance with the provisions of the Act shall be horizontal and the vacancies for persons with benchmark disabilities will be maintained as a separate class.
- As far as accessibility is concerned, every establishment will comply with the standards relating to the physical environment, transport and information and communication technology.
- Every establishment shall publish an equal opportunity policy for the PWDs within a period of six months from the date of notification of these rules.
- Every establishment covered under sub-rule 3 of rule 12, shall maintain all related records and shall provide the same to District Level Committee for PWDs for inspection and verification.
- No person with a disability shall be considered to be a subject of research except when the research involves the physical impact on his body.
- Government shall appoint Commissioner Disabilities for the redressal of the issues related to PWDs.
- Government shall develop norms for the recognition of Special Schools run by the Government or private organisation.
- Government of J&K shall frame various schemes to provide assistance to PWDs.
- Moreover, the government will create Union Territory Fund for Persons with Disabilities for providing financial assistance in the areas which are not specifically covered under any scheme and programme of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, the fund will be utilised for other purposes as may be decided by the governing body headed by the Administrative Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare.
M Ahmad is a regular writer for this newspaper and can be reached at [email protected]