Chief Commissioner Takes Suo Motu Cognizance of Derogatory Terminologies for Divyangjan in Indian Legislation

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GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 8th Dec. The Court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities took suo motu cognizance under its mandate as per Section 75 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, of a news item published in the daily, “The Hindu” on 21.11.2023 (Chennai Edition) which says that ‘Post office opens ‘Lunatic Account’ for autistic man; plaint lodged’.

According to the news item, a senior citizen approached the GKM Postal Colony Post Office in Chennai some months ago to open a savings account and term deposit account in the name of his autistic son, who is a telecom family pensioner.

He had requested to open a Guardian Operated Account, furnishing his son’s National Disability Identity Card and the Guardianship Certificate given under the National Trust Act. His account was opened but citing a colonial-era legislation, Section 12 of the Government Savings Bank Act, 1873, the Department of Posts is continuing the insensitive practice of classifying the account as “Lunatic Account”.

The notice cited Section 13 of the RPwD Act, which provides that the appropriate government shall ensure that the persons with disabilities have rights equally with others to control their financial affairs and have access to bank loans and other forms of financial credit and enjoy legal capacity. The Section and the Preamble of the Act also provides that the autonomy, dignity, and privacy of persons with disability shall be respected.

The notice also cited the Disability Inclusive Language Guidelines launched by the United Nations in 2019 as part of its UN Disability Inclusion Strategy, which has listed various commonly used terms, which should be avoided and has also mapped such terms with corresponding terms recommended by the UN.

The policy of the UN aims to establish the highest levels of commitment and a vision for the United Nations system on disability inclusion for the next decade, and aims at establishing an institutional framework for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among other international human rights instruments and development and humanitarian commitments.

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