The Indian legislative framework related to disability has been significantly transformed after the enactment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2017 (RPD Act) and the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 (MH Act). The RPD Act adopt a “twin track” approach by incorporating specific provisions for women with disability while also addressing their vulnerabilities in the context of discrimination, social security, healthcare, and sexual offences. This article unpacks the rights of women with disabilities (WWD) to equality and non-discrimination and all its dimensions. It examines the extent to which the legislations recognize multiple and intersecting discrimination that WWD experience, as well as horizontal discrimination, and identifies legal provisions that can potentially facilitate de facto equality for WWD. It analyzes the extent of compliance with the guarantees relevant to WWD under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2008 (‘UNCPRD’). Although research has established the vulnerability of WWD to violence, it is argued that the RPD Act and the MH Act do not expressly consider the gender-based aspect of violence. The article explains the procedural safeguards for victims with disability in legislations relevant to sexual offences such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It also examines the coverage of reproductive rights of WWD under the UNCPRD and domestic laws and their treatment of forced sterilizations. Finally, it outlines the possibilities and limitations of the Indian legal framework in advancing the rights of WWDs.

Custom Citation

Swagata Raha and Shampa Sengupta, 'Rights of Women with Disabilities under Indian legislations' (2018) 14(2) Socio-Legal Review 190

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