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TORCHING IN THE DARKNESS: ENTAILING THE RIGHTS OF SPECIAL CHILDREN

Jay Gajbhiye and Saransh Saxena, 2nd Year, National Law University, Odisha

INTRODUCTION

In the modern progressive approaches adopted by various governments of nations to enhance the developmental mechanism, throughout several decades, various groups and sections of people have experienced different sorts of benefits as well as drawbacks. Now, if we take a look at the ratio of benefits entailed, the section of disabled people is one of the most underprivileged ones. But most importantly, our point of view in this research analysis shall only be categorized towards the deprivation of rights and benefits, especially for disabled children.

In a general sense, the discussions on the issue of human rights available to disabled children mostly revolve around the educational understanding, with a vision as to even if a child suffers from some of the other kind of disability, he/she shall not be deprived of any of the educational rights made available to the normal children. With the vision being appropriately in place, however, just as other developing nations, India hasn’t adopted much of a progressive ideology for the betterment of children with disabilities. Not only limited to educational rights, but disabled children are also unfortunately considered a non-deserving section in the society, wherein they are also not provided basic human rights made available to similar children not facing any kind of disabilities.


HISTORICAL & PRESENT SITUATION

Many of the times where one section of people feels to be disadvantaged in society with the non-entailment of some of the other rights and benefits, the sole blame for the non-compliance of equality is imposed on the government. The basic thinking of people is confined to the idea that the complete responsibility of the well-being in the society is only of the government, and the people presiding on higher positions. The reason behind disabled children being considered as a disadvantaged section is not only because of any legislations not framed for their benefit but also as a result of the non-acceptance of the disabled children to be the part of the society just as other normal class of people. When the general society considers them to be different from the rest, the disabled group at that very point only falls in the disadvantaged category.

First and foremost, to make sure that the disabled do not feel excluded from the normal people in the society, the government of India has set up a special department under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, known as the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan). This departmental set up by the government makes sure that all the acts and legal provisions brought up by the government are properly enforced, in addition to organizing all sorts of schemes, programs, and events which shall improve the hospitable conditions of the disabled in the society. With special reference made to the initiative of the government, although the department being in force priorly, its working was boosted by the government through improving the status quo from ‘Disabled to Divyang.’

The applicability of the disabled rights in the system could also be justified through the constitutional reference wherein there are general as well as specific laws in place. All the articles which are made general such as Article 14, Article 19, Article 21, etc. contain the applicability of the said provision to normal as well as disabled people[1]. Furthermore, regarding disabled children, Article 21A[2] specifically mentions the right to education to children belonging to 6-14 years of age, including the children suffering from disabilities.


DISABLED CHILDREN ARE SUBJECTED TO UGLY FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION

Due to the disgrace connected with a disability, families become sufferers of oppression and human rights infringements. Where deprivation, physical abandonment, and societal marginalization collide, the effects on the differently-abled can be catastrophic. Disabled children are confined in their households, denying fair opportunities to movement, schooling, and jobs. They are seen as vulnerable individuals.[3] In some situations, such prejudice begins with family members and extends to decision-makers and state officials. As a consequence of such inequality, disabled children suffer persistent health problems, socio-economic pressures, and neglect.

According to Indian legislation, all friends and relatives in the family are entitled to obtain their part of ancestral properties, however, in actuality, these privileges are withheld from the differently-abled. The siblings accept the liability for offering protection and enjoy the properties intended for the individual with disabilities. Family members fear that differently-abled children are ineffective in handling their land, they are deprived of their ownership rights and are rendered reliant on their competent siblings. Adverse of all would be when the families guarantee the ongoing state of the disability by rejecting care or any support so that the siblings could take advantage of the properties.


IMPLICATIONS ON SEXUALITY OF A PERSON WITH DISABILITY

Sexual orientation is a vital constituent of the general growth and self-esteem that matures in puberty. The differently-abled children are often at a specific limitation in this respect. There is a definite overprotective mentality towards the differently-abled child. Parents infantilize differently-abled children, suggesting that sex is solely for the competent one and has no significance to the disabled.[4] These parental viewpoints are passed down to the child in an implicit manner that makes him/her feel inadequate and incapable of affection. Parents of CWDs foster dependency and share the common public view of individuals with disabilities as inherently childlike, naive, and asexual.


DISCREPANCIES IN STATE PROGRAM

Differently-abled children come under the compass of the “Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment”. Some problems, such as preventive and invigorating forms, are dealt with by the Ministry of Health. Nevertheless, no particular ministry took the authority for addressing the overall requirements of CWDs. Disability tends to decline in the “community service” sector. While attempts are ongoing to put this into the “rights” context, the thought mechanism remains driven by the charity method while delivering care to individuals with disabilities. As disability is a state concern, each state provides its policy, but neither of the states will see the comprehensive requirements of individuals with disabilities.

Few states have been effective in raising consciousness among differently-abled individuals regarding responsibilities and prerogatives “(Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and New Delhi)”, although others have lagged in enforcing many of the essential welfare benefits embodied in the “PWD Act of 1995. (Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh)”. In Karnataka, the disability well-being division instituted workforce at panchayats such as Village Recovery Employees and Multifunctional Recovery Employees to address the needs of differently-abled individuals in their particular regions.[5] The related framework is implemented in other states.


FUTURE COURSE OF ACTION

Now while approaching the modern era of a globally competitive world, it is important to first raise the in-house standards through the development of effective manpower. With the future of the nation to lead further, it is important to not only consider normal children but to also address the concerns of disabled children. Henceforth, the need of the hour is to not only evolve the survival mechanism for the disabled in the competitive society but to develop an environment that doesn’t differentiate between the normal class and the disabled class of children. We need to understand that the sole ground of a disability of a person doesn’t impair his/her capability or intellectuality quotient.

Despite that there are several legal provisions and acts in the system formulated by the government, what is now required is the societal acceptance of the disabled. Furthermore, the over-exaggeration of sympathy also sometimes worsens the situation, wherein they develop an opinion of being a victimized section of the society. The children suffering from disabilities require to be dealt with a different kind of behavior. At such a tender age, they shouldn’t feel to either be an under-privileged section of the society, or a feeling of rejection by the society should be developed. In this task, the educational institutions could play a very effective role in laying down the foundations. With the disability rights being a topic of concurrent lists, it is important for both the states as well as the union to develop separate educational institutions for the disabled, as well as to bring in reforms in the present educational system to include disabled children with the rest children only, to maintain a sense of equality.

References

[1] The Constitution of India, 1950. [2] Ibid [3] Janardhana N, Naidu DM. Stigma and Discrimination Experiences by Families of Mentally ill-Victims of mental illness. Contempt Soc Work J. 2011; 3:83–8. [4] Menon N, Parish S, Rose R, State of persons with disabilities in India, Edition 2012. [5] Janardhana N, Editor. Mental illness and disability. In: Handbook for the Multipurpose Rehabilitation Workers, NIMHANS Publication, 2012

(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Child Rights Centre.)

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