Access to justice is a fundamental right, as well as a prerequisite for the protection of all other human rights. Norms and standards relating to access to justice for persons with disabilities are set out in a series of binding and non-binding instruments at international and regional levels. Across the world, persons with disabilities encounter considerable obstacles in terms of access to justice. Aiming to make it easier for disabled people around the world to access the justice system, The United Nations has released its first-ever guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities recently.
On December 13, 2019, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had announced its intention to extend the deadline of the Accessible India Campaign to March 2020 due to its slow progress. The Central Advisory Board (CAB) chaired by social justice and empowerment minister took this decision. Failure to provide for the accessibility to persons with disability is showing the government’s negligence to provide for the inclusive growth and equal opportunity to all of the Indian citizens.
Recently, the Supreme Court of India was moved by the plight of the chained mentally ill patients in a “faith-healing asylum” at Badaun, Uttar Pradesh and ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to take urgent measures to address the horrible situation. Chaining of such patients amounts to violation of the Mental Health Care Act of 2017 and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Notably, 14% of India is in need of active mental health interventions. This issue calls for a relook at the status of mental health and healthcare in India.