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Rajya Sabha clears Disabilities Bill, 2-year jail for discrimination

The bill stipulates up to two-year jail term and a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh for discriminating against disabled people.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2016 17:45 IST
PTI, New Delhi
Disabilities Bill,Rajya Sabha,Upper House
Disabled people take part in a solidarity rally asking parliamentarians to pass the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday.(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT file photo)

A bill stipulating up to two-year jail term and a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakh for discriminating against disabled people was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, which aims to secure and enhance the rights and entitlements of disabled persons, was passed by a voice vote after rare unanimity among the Opposition and treasury benches in the House -- which has seen acrimony and disruptions since the winter session began on November 16.

The bill, which was moved in the Upper House earlier this month by social justice minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, also gives effect to the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and related matters.

When the House met in the morning and took up the zero hour, members from the Opposition benches including leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, BSP chief Mayawati, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and SP leader Naresh Agarwal, pitched for immediate passage of the “crucial” legislation.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the measure could be taken up immediately.

Deputy chairman PJ Kurien agreed to take up a short debate on the legislation before its passage, though he first said the matter was listed in the agenda in the afternoon and could be taken up then. When the Bill, which had 120 amendments, was being passed in the afternoon, Anand Sharma (of the Congress) raised the issue regarding the numbering of the clauses, to which Gehlot assured that the issue will be looked into.

First Published: Dec 14, 2016 16:57 IST