Rights of Persons with Disabilities – RPWD Act 2016

There are various kinds of people who come with their strengths and weaknesses. If the other human beings find these positives and negatives of another common, they are considered normal, and if not, they get termed as “disabled” or “abnormal”. Due to the lack of awareness and knowledge, such human beings are unfair and cruel in some way or other with the latter.

So, to protect these specially-abled human beings, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, also known as the RPWD Act 2016, was established and signed into law in December of 2016. Let’s see in detail what’s all included in RPWD Act 2016.

What is meant by ‘disability’ under the RPWD act?

The definition of disability in the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD Act) of 1995 differed, where only seven disabilities got identified. However, the scope of disabilities in the current legislation, the RPWD Act 2016, is comprehensive and broad and discovers many disabilities and illnesses.

In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Disability emerges from the interaction of people with disabilities and attitudinal and environmental impediments that act as barriers fully and effectively in society on an equal basis with one another.

Section 2(s) of the RPWD Act 2016 precludes a person with a long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory handicap that, when combined with impediments, completely and efficiently participates in society on an equal level with others. The number of disability categories was increased from seven to twenty-one due to this act.

The Rights of Persons with Disability Act

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016 replaced the Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995.

  • The act received presidential assent by the parliament on December 27th, 2016
  • It went into effect on April 19th, 2017.
  • On the 15th of June 2017, the core rules were prepared and notified.
  • The disability guidelines were notified on the 5th of January 2018.

It gets divided into 102 sections and 17 chapters.

The RPWD Act 2016 aims at promoting and defending the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities in all areas of life, including education, social, legal, economic, cultural, and political factors.

It applies to public, non-profit, and private entities. It provides rules and timeframes for businesses to ensure infrastructural and service accessibility. It has implementation mechanisms such as Disability Commissioner’s Offices at the federal and state levels, District Committees, Boards, Committees for planning and monitoring the Act’s implementation, and Special Courts at the district level. It carries penalties if any of the Act’s provisions are broken.

The act empowers persons with impairments based on eight basic principles:

  • Individual autonomy, including the right to make one’s judgments, and human independence are all essential principles to uphold.
  • Non-discrimination
  • Full and effective engagement and integration into society
  • Acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of humanity’s diversity and respect for differences
  • Accessibility
  • Equal treatment to both men and women.
  • Respect for the potential of the children with disabilities as they grow, as well as their right to preserve their identities.

Features of the RPWD Act 2016

The main features of the disability act are:

  1. Disabilities covered

    Disability is a continually changing and evolving idea. The number of disabilities got extended from seven to twenty-one, and the Central Government will have the authority to add more. The following are the 21 disabilities under the RPWD act 2016 –

    1. Blindness
    2. Visual Impairment
    3. Leprosy Persons who got cured
    4. Impairment of hearing
    5. Disability of the musculoskeletal system
    6. Dwarfism
    7. Intellectual Disabilities
    8. mental Illness
    9. ASD (autism spectrum disease)
    10. Cerebral Palsy
    11. Muscular Dystrophy
    12. Chronic neurological conditions
    13. Specific learning disabilities
    14. Multiple Sclerosis
    15. Disability in speech and language
    16. Thalassemia
    17. Haemophilia
    18. Sickle Cell Disease
    19. Multiple disabilities
    20. Victims of acid attacks
    21. Parkinson’s disease

    Individuals with “benchmark disabilities” are those who have been certified to have at least 40% of the disabilities listed above.

  2. The respective governments have been charged with taking effective measures to guarantee that people with disabilities have the same rights.
  3. Persons with threshold disabilities and significant support requirements have received additional privileges such as preference in higher education, government posts, preference inland distribution, poverty alleviation initiatives, etc.
  4. Every kid between the ages of 6 and 18 with a disability has the right to free education.
  5. The percentage of openings in government establishments reserved for specific people or groups with disabilities increased from 3% to 4%.
  6. The bill proposes the District Court provide guardianship, with the guardian and the disabled individual making shared decisions.
  7. To act as a supreme policy-making authority at the federal and state levels, broad-based Central and State Advisory Boards on Disability will get established.

What are the rights of persons with disabilities according to the RPWD Act 2016?

Under the RPWD Act 2016, the following sections determine the rights of persons with disability:

  1. Section 5: To live in a Community like other people.
  2. Section 6: To get protection from cruelty and inhuman treatment.
  3. Section 7: To get protection from any kind of abuse, violence and exploitation. If it persists, the person with a disability can complain to any executive or judicial magistrate and get free legal aid.
  4. Section 8: To get equal protection and safety like any other country citizen in any risk situations, armed conflicts, humanitarian emergencies, or natural disasters.
  5. Section 9: No child shall get separated from his or her parents just on the grounds of disability.
  6. Section 10: No person with a disability shall be subject to any kind of medical procedure that can lead to infertility without free and informed consent.
  7. Section 11: Persons with a disability shall have access to all the polling stations, which should be disabled-friendly.
  8. Section 12: The court should be disabled-friendly not only physically but also attitudinal.
  9. Section 13: Legal capacity should be equivalent to any other citizen owning or inheriting any property, whether movable or immovable. They have the right to control their financial affairs and access bank loans, mortgages or any other form of financial credit.
  10. Section 14: The Provisions of guardianship – Limited and Joint


According to the RPWD Act 2016, the relevant government must ensure that persons with disabilities have the same right to equality, dignity, and respect for their integrity as everyone else.

The government will take steps to use the potentials of the Person with Disabilities by creating a suitable environment. The act’s section 3 states that no person with a disability shall be discriminated against because of disability unless demonstrated that:

  • The debatable act or omission is a reasonable and fair way of accomplishing the goal and;
  • That no person shall be denied his or her liberty merely because of disability

PWDs must live in the community, and the government must take steps to ensure that they have adequate shelter. Special measures will be taken to guarantee that women and children with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else. So, efforts must be taken to safeguard PWDs against cruelty, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as well as abuse, assault, and exploitation in any form.

FAQs on RPWD Act 2016

What is the full form of the RPWD Act 2016?

Rights of persons with disabilities Act, 2016

Which act is replaced by the RPWD Act?

The act replaced by the RPWD Act was PWD Act (Persons with Disabilities) 1995

How many disabilities get covered under the RPWD act?


As per the RPWD Act, what is the minimum disability criteria to avail any governmental scheme?