Disability Laws: Definition and Meaning

The inclusion or exclusion of people with disabilities from participating in various activities might depend on a variety of social circumstances, which in turn can have an impact on their growth or self-esteem. Therefore, disability is not only a health issue, but rather social issue as well.

What is Meaning of Disability?

If someone has a disability, it means they have basic difficulties carrying out tasks that other people take for granted. All people are born free with equal rights and respect. However, people with disabilities face discrimination, stigma, and infringements on their human rights everywhere on the globe. Disabilities might be behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or even physical in nature. The physical and sensory types of disabilities are mostly discussed in this topic center because other kinds are properly addressed in other centers.

Likewise, it is a complicated phenomenon that reflects the relationship between the physical characteristics of an individual and the social characteristics of the society in which they inhabit. Disability is a state of impairment that can be caused by any one or a combination of various factors, including cognitive, developmental, intellectual, activity, and sensory impairments. It may be present at birth or develop throughout a person's lifetime and have a significant impact on their daily activities.

Disability is a contentious concept, with various definitions attached to it by various societies. It can relate to traits that are physical or mental that some organizations, especially those in medicine, see as having to be repaired. It can be a reference to the restrictions placed on individuals by a wealthy society. For things like cancer screenings and immunizations, people with disabilities have the same health requirements as people without impairments. Due to poverty, social marginalization, and a potential susceptibility to secondary illnesses such as pressure sores or urinary tract infections, they may also have a limited range of health.

International Human Rights

The founding document of the multinational organization known as the United Nations is its charter, which was adopted in 1945. According to Article 55, the United Nations shall work to advance the following things in order to create the stability and well-being that are essential for friendly and peaceful relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and peoples' self-determination −

  • A higher standard of living, full employment, and conditions for economic and social progress and development;

  • Cooperation between nations in the fields of culture and education and the resolution of global issues relating to the economy, society, and health

  • Universal respect for the observance of fundamental freedoms and human rights for all people without regard to their race, gender, language, or religion

Rights of a Disabled Person

"Without distinction or prejudice, the disabled person shall be entitled to all the rights set forth in this declaration." Regardless of the cause, kind, or severity of their handicaps and disabilities, people with disabilities have a fundamental right to respect for their human dignity. People with disabilities are entitled to the same civil and political rights as everyone else. People with disabilities have a right to the policies intended to help them become as independent as feasible.

Disabled people have the right to economic and social security, including the right, based on their ability, to find and keep a job or to engage in a meaningful, fruitful, and financially rewarding vocation, as well as the right to join unions. The right to live with one's family or with foster parents, as well as the right to take part in all social, creative, and recreational activities, is guaranteed to disabled people. People with disabilities must be safeguarded from all forms of exploitation and demeaning, abusive, or discriminating treatment.

Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons

The United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights agreement designed to uphold the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. Parties to the convention are required to advance, safeguard, and ensure that people with disabilities can fully exercise their human rights and are treated equally by the law.

Laws in India

In India, there are various laws and policies that regulate the disability provisions and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Some of the important laws and policies related to disability in India are −

Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992

Enacted in 1992, this act provides for the establishment of the Rehabilitation Council of India, with the objective regulate and promote the education and training of rehabilitation professionals in the country.

The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules, 1996

These rules provide for the implementation of the 1995 Act, including the creation of disability certificates and the establishment of disability committees at the district and state levels.

The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999

This Act establishes the National Trust, with the objective to provide support and services to persons with disabilities and their families.

National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006

2006 policy outlines the government's commitment in reference to promoting the full participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016

This law has replaced the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. This Act ensures equal rights and opportunities for disable persons in all aspects of life.

Mental Healthcare Act, 2017

This law legislated with the objective to provide the protection and promote the rights of persons with mental illness. Besides, it also establishes mechanisms for the provision of mental healthcare services.


Disability is the disadvantage or activity limitations brought on by how society is structured, which pays little to no attention to those with physical, sensory, or mental impairments. Disability is an unfavorable aspect of life that can affect one's strength and power as well as one's natural manner of living. The government must introduce additional social security programs for the disabled and increase their access to employment opportunities. As a means of alleviation, a number of programs and conferences on benefits for disabled people have emerged, successfully assisting in granting the crippled segment equal chances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What laws apply to people with disabilities in India?

Ans. There are various laws that regulate the rights of individuals with disabilities in addition to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. These laws include the Mental Health Act of 2017, the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, etc.

Q2. What falls under the purview of the Disability Act?

Ans. The Equality Act of 2010's Section 6 has the definition. A physical or mental impairment qualifies as a disability, according to the law. Your ability to perform routine daily tasks has been significantly and negatively affected for a significant amount of time by that disability.

Updated on: 06-Apr-2023


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