Mental Disability in India
Mon, 20 Dec 2021

Mental Disability in India

In News

The Supreme Court has held that the Initiation of disciplinary proceedings against persons with mental disabilities facet of indirect discrimination.

The court held that persons suffer a disproportionate disadvantage due to the impairment and are more likely to be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.


What is Mental Disability?

  • Mental disability, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behaviour.
  • It impairs the ability of persons to comply with workplace standards in comparison to their able-bodied counterparts.
  • About 10% of the population in the world has some form of mental disability, and 1% has severe form of mental disorders with disability.
  • According to census 2011, nearly 21% of the population has some form of disability and among them, only 2.7% has mental illness, and 5.6% has mental retardation.

What are the disability laws in India?

According to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016, Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept. The Act covers the following specified mental disabilities:-

  • Mental retardation: A condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person which is specially characterized by sub - normality of intelligence i.e. cognitive, language, motor and social abilities
  • Autism: A condition of uneven skill development primarily affecting the communication and social abilities of a person, marked by repetitive and ritualistic behaviour.
  • Multiple Disability: A combination of two or more disabilities such as Blindness/low vision Speech and Hearing Impairement Locomotor disability including leprosy cured Mental retardation and Mental illness


Way Forward

  • Mental disabilities are among the leading causes of non-fatal disease burden in India, but a systematic understanding of their prevalence, disease burden, and risk factors is not readily available for each state of India.
  • There is need to take institutional and legal actions to protect persons with disabilities and the judgement of Supreme Court on disciplinary proceedings is a step in the right direction.
  • Surveys, investigations and research shall be conducted to ascertain the cause of occurrence of disabilities.
  • Reservation and promotion benefits be followed properly. Unemployment allowances can be provided to educated persons with disabilities.
  • Facilities of wheel chair accessible in all public spaces. Aids and Appliances shall be made available to the people with disabilities.
  • Institutional mechanism for grievance Redressal 




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