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Disability policy: 70 govt depts issued show cause notice

The policy, which is meant to ensure that workplaces are accessible in every way, is mandatory under the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act.

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2019 06:05 IST
Abhishek Dey
Abhishek Dey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rights for Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act,2016,Equal Opportunity Policy
The policy, which is meant to ensure that workplaces are accessible in every way, is mandatory under the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act. Image used for representational purpose only. ((Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO))

More than 70 departments under the Delhi government have been issued show cause notice by the state commissioner for persons with disabilities over the past week for not registering and notifying Equal Opportunity Policy (EOP).

The policy, which is meant to ensure that workplaces are accessible in every way, is mandatory under the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act.

The notice, a copy of which is with HT, also mentions that the government departments were required to provide lists of private establishments registered with them to the office of the commissioner so that independent notices regarding the same could be sent to the private establishments.

“Most departments failed in doing so. The departments have now been asked to respond to the notices by July 2, 2019,” said T D Dhariyal, state commissioner (Delhi) for persons with disabilities, who issued the notice.

On June 6, HT had reported how only 1,255 state government establishments and 11 private establishments in Delhi have registered and notified EOPs with the state commissioner’s office since the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act came into force in 2016.

For government establishments, the numbers were reported to be around half of what it ideally should be, for private ones they were reported to be “abysmally low”.

The Delhi government has now issued directions to all departments to register and notify EOPs at the earliest.

According to Satendra Singh, member of an advisory committee for persons with disabilities set up by the Delhi government earlier this year, the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act, 2016, makes registration of EOPs mandatory for all organisations, but it does not prescribe any deadline for the same.

“However, Rule 12 of the Delhi Rights for Persons with Disabilities Rules, an extension of the Act, that was notified on December 28, 2018, clearly say that establishments, both private and government, have to do so within six months of notification of the Rules. The six-month window technically ends on June 28, 2019,” he said.

According to senior officials in the office of the state commissioner for persons with disabilities, the only government departments which have been exempted from the show cause notice so far for having completed required formalities include the Directorate of Education, Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board, B R Sur Homoeopathic Medical College & Research Centre, Acharya Shribhiksu Government Hospital, G B Pant Engineering College, Delhi State Legal Services Authority and the Social Welfare Department.

“We issued notice to around 50 departments last week. Others were issued the show cause notice this week,” Dhariyal said.

Delhi’s social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, whose department acts as a conduit between the government and the advisory committee, confirmed government departments receiving the show cause notices.

“Directions have been issued to all departments to notify and register their EOPs at the earliest and provide requisite information to the commissioner’s office,” he said.

Social welfare secretary Rashmi Krishnan said, “On our part, we have drafted a model EOP — one which can be adopted by other departments. The choice, however, will be theirs.”

First Published: Jun 14, 2019 06:05 IST