Friday, December 22, 2023

Supreme Court Launches Initiative for Public Input by 31 Jan 2024 to Combat Stereotypes Against Persons with Disabilities in Legal Settings

Dear Colleagues,

In a groundbreaking move for 2023, the Supreme Court has embarked on a crucial initiative to address harmful stereotypes against individuals with disabilities within the legal realm. Following the successful unveiling of the 'Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes,' which aimed to guide legal professionals away from detrimental language related to women, the Supreme Court is extending its commitment to inclusivity. The court is now set to launch a parallel handbook dedicated to combatting prejudicial language and stereotypes surrounding individuals with disabilities.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, grants specific rights and benefits to individuals with disabilities, including those with "high support needs". However, to give real meaning to these rights, it is essential for the enforcing courts to be well-versed in and sensitive to the challenges faced by persons with disabilities. This understanding extends beyond addressing physical requirements; it involves comprehending and responding to the diverse challenges encountered within the legal system. Overcoming stereotypes about persons with disabilities is crucial, as these biases can introduce unfairness into legal proceedings, affecting the impartiality of outcomes.

Stereotypes often depict individuals with disabilities as less competent or reliable, unfairly influencing judicial proceedings, including the credibility of testimonies and the recognition of rights and responsibilities in legal contexts. By actively dismantling these stereotypes and ensuring that courts understand and support the needs of individuals with disabilities, the legal system can evolve into a more inclusive and just entity, reflecting the diversity of the society it serves. This commitment to accessibility and fairness not only benefits individuals with disabilities but also strengthens the integrity and equity of the legal system on a broader scale.

To encourage engagement from diverse stakeholders and gather a comprehensive range of perspectives, the Supreme Court of India has invited input on the following issues:

1. Proposing inclusive terminology suitable for addressing Persons with Disabilities, encompassing their needs and the issues affecting them.

2. Identifying inaccurate or harmful stereotypes about persons with disabilities that contribute to discrimination, distorted legal reasoning, or the denial of legal rights or benefits, along with strategies to counteract such stereotypes.

3. Recommending primary legal materials and academic literature that can be relied upon in formulating a Handbook on Combating Stereotypes concerning Persons with Disabilities.

All interested stakeholders are invited to share their insights by completing the form at the following link: on or before 31 Jan 2024.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Election Commission of India takes intiatives for accessible elections and respectful language for persons with Disabilities

The very foundation of democracy lies in representation of all communities in the electoral process including persons with disabilitiess. Accessible and Inclusive elections have therefore, been a non-negotiable priority for the Election Commission of India  (ECI) in particular to ensure equal participation of Persons with Disabilities. Section of 11 of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016  provides as under:

"11. Accessibility in voting. - The Election Commission of India and the State Election Commissions shall ensure that all polling stations are accessible to persons with disabilities and all materials related to the electoral process are easily understandable by and accessible to them."

ECI has been striving to promote the principle of accessibility and inclusivity in the elections in line with the above mandate and understaken several intiatives.

Training Module on Sensitization of Field Level Officess

To the above effect, the ECI Team has prepared detailed "Training Module on Sensizitation and Capacity Building  of Field Level Officers on Accessibility Measures"  (visit Link to Training Module PDF 17 MB)

Advisory against use of Derogratory or offensie language about Persons with Disabilities

Off late, the Commission was been made aware of use of derogatory or offensive language in the political discourse about Persons with Disabilities. Usage of such semantics in speech/ campaign by members of any political parties or their candidates, can be interpreted as an affront to Persons with Disabilities.

Common examples of ableist language are words like dumb (gunga), retarded (pagal, sirphira), blind (andha, kana), deaf (behra), lame (langda, lula, apahij) etc. It is necessary to avoid usage of such derogatory language. PwDs have to be accorded, justice and respect in political discourse.

Thus to promote inclusivity and respect in the language of political campaigns and related communications, ECI has issued following guidelines to all political parties and their representatives on conduct towards Persons with disabilities.

The Advisory and press release can be accessed at the links below:

Link to ECI Advisory to Political Parties in respect of PwDs dated 20 Dec 2023 

Link to Press Release by ECI dated 21 Dec 2023 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

2nd Capsule course on NBC 2016 – Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment to held during 29-30 Nov 2023 at NITS Noida

Dear Ally enthusiasts,

After the well received first in-person two day capsule course on "National Building Code 2016 - Accessibility in Buildings & Built Environment" in July 2023 at National Institute of Training on Standardization (NITS) Noida, India,  there were a number of requests to hold it again. 

The 2nd of this series, this course was conducted during 29 - 30 November 2023 at NITS the state-of-the art training arm of Bureau of Indian Standard. The faculty included  Sh. Subhash Chandra Vashishth and Shri TD Dhariyal (CABE Foundation) and Smt. Madhurima Madhav (BIS).

Participants posing for a picture
The event saw enthusiastic participation from a diverse audience, including representatives from government agencies such as DDA, Bangalore Metro Rail, students of architecutre and design, practicing architects, Industry representatives, product manufacturers and Professors of Architecture of a private University among others. Together, we took a significant step towards creating a more inclusive society. 

The Capsule Course aimed to foster a better understanding of accessibility norms and guidelines outlined in the National Building Code. By promoting accessible designs and infrastructure, we are committed to ensuring that every person, regardless of ability or age, can navigate our buildings and public spaces with ease and dignity. 

We once again extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Bureau of Indian Standards for spearheading this crucial initiative, and to all the participants who made this event a grand success! Let's continue working together to build a world where everyone's needs are considered and valued.

Stay tuned for the call / invitation for the third course of the series in the month of Feb/March 2024 as we work together towards a more accessible and inclusive future for all! 


#access2buildings #AccessibilityMatters #inclusivity #BIS #AccessibleIndiaCampaign #CABEFoundation #empowerment #SocialChange #InclusiveSociety #InclusivityMatters #BuildingForAll #AccessibilityInBuiltEnvironment #SocialImpact #TogetherWeCan

Friday, November 03, 2023

CABE Foundation collaborates with United Nations ESCAP to conduct a 2-day Training Program for Delhi Municipal Officers to Make Parks and Gardens Inclusive for All through Universal Design

Press Release

New Delhi, 03 Nov 2023 

In an initiative aimed at fostering inclusivity and accessibility for all, a comprehensive training program for municipal officials titled "Making Parks and Gardens Inclusive for All through Universal Design" was held during 02-03 November 2023 in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The program was a collaborative effort between the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Delhi (SCPD), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), and the Centre for Accessibility in Built Environment Foundation (CABE Foundation). The UNESCAP and the CABE Foundation spearheaded and conducted the training program.

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director welcoming the participants in inaugural session.
Inaugural Session of the 2 day training. Seen on the dias, Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director CABE Foundation, speaking; and seated on dias (from left to right) Mr. TD Dhariyal, ED, CABE Foundation; Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, Director of the Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, United Nations ESCAP ; Mr. Amit Kumr Sharma, Addl Commisioner (Horticulture)MCD; Air Cmde Ranjan Mukherjee, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and Dr. Alok Singh, Director in Chief (Horticulture), MCD.

This training program was designed to address the pressing issue of accessibility in public spaces for diverse users particularly persons with disabilities, with a special focus on parks and gardens. The program itinerary included an array of sessions covering various aspects of inclusive park design and understanding the specific needs of individuals with disabilities. It also delved into international and national frameworks for disability inclusion.

Mr. TD Dhariyal, Executive Director, CABE Foundation speaking
Mr. TD Dhariyal speaking
Mr. TD Dhariyal, Executive Director of the CABE Foundation, delivered the opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of making public spaces more inclusive and accessibility directly relates to ensuring dignity of an individual with disability.  He also stated that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 has clear mandate to ensure accessibility in public spaces and strict provisions for contravention.

Mr. Amit Kumar Sharma, Additional Commissioner (Horticulture), MCD, in his opening address exhorted the participants to be more empathetic to the needs of seniors, women, children and person with disabilities. 

Dr. Alok Singh from MCD speaking
Dr. Alok Singh speaking
Dr. Alok Kumar Singh Director in Chief, Horticulture in his address highlighted the MCD's commitment to the cause and to take forward the learnings from the program to make measurable changes on the ground to enhance accessibility and usability of their diverse parks. Mr. RK Singh and Mr. Ashish Priyadarshi, both Directors Horticulture were also pressent and played an important role in organsing the present training program.

SCPD Delhi Air Commodore Ranjan Mukherjee speaking
Air Cmde Ranjan Mukherjee addressing
Air Commodore Ranjan Mukherjee VSM (Retd), State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, GNCT of Delhi underscored the significance of diversity inclusion in built environment as disability could happen to anyone any time and our infrastructure needs to gear up to meet the needs of its users. He shared several of his case judgements on the subject.

Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, Director of the Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, United Nations ESCAP, provided international insights and perspectives particularly the compendium prepared by the UN ESCAP on the subject containing best practices from Asia and Pacific countries.  Ms. Li Stephanie Choo, Social Affairs Officer, UN ESCAP and Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director CABE Foundation conducted the technical training. The training was based on the ESCAP Quick Guide and Compendium on Designing and Retrofitting Inclusive Public Parks and the Indian standards on accessibility of built public spaces.   

Ms. Mikiko Tanaka from UN ESCAP speaking
Ms. Mikiko Tanaka delivering her address
Following the opening ceremony, participants engaged in a series of interactive sessions, covering topics such as "Who are our users?" and "Technical features of inclusive park design." The first day classroom training followed with a site visit to Shaheedi Park at the ITO, a new park developed by the MCD, allowing participants to apply their knowledge in practical scenarios. 

The participants divided in to six groups conducted access survey of the Shaheedi park. Each group had one wheelchair user and one person simulating vision impairment exploring the park infrastructure and facilities. The groups presented their findings and recommendations to enhance accessibility of Shaheedi Park during the training program. Many participants expressed that if they had such a session before, their parks would have been more inclusive today. 

Participants simulating disabilities at the Shaheedi Park.
Participants at the Shaheedi Park for site visit
Most of them were happy that such a session took place which widened their knowledge spectrum and made them empathise and think inclusive in their work. The program saw participation from Horticulture, Civil Engineering and Education departments of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

Speaking on the side lines of the training program, Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director of the Centre for Accessibility in Built Environment Foundation said, “We wanted to develop empathy in the municipal officials about the needs of persons with disabilities and also equip them with the Universal Accessibility standards so that they are able to incorporate the inclusivity from the design stage itself. The simulation exercise helped them understand and empathize”.

Participants undertaking simulation exercises, walking  with white cane blindfolded
Participants undertaking simulation exercises.
This collaborative initiative reflects a commitment to creating an environment where public spaces are welcoming and accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. By addressing the challenges of inclusivity, the program aimed to contribute to a more equitable society where all citizens can enjoy and benefit from public parks and gardens.

This partnership will see development of Shaheedi Park as a model accessible theme park in Delhi and also to ensure that new parks under conceptualisation or development are fully accessible to the diverse needs of persons with disabilities, seniors, children, women alike. Sensory gardens, inclusive play spaces and inclusive facilities in the parks such as accessible toilets, enhanced accessibility of neighbourhood parks is also on the cards.

Training session in progress at the Sabhagaar
Fig. Training session in progresss in the Sabhagar 

For more information about the training program and its objectives and for media inquiries, please contact: Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, Centre for Accessibility in Built Environment Foundation,

Visit our Facebook Page for more pictures.


Monday, October 16, 2023

Supreme Court unveils Report With Recommendations For Better Accessibility For Persons With Disabilities, Senior Citizens And Women

New Delhi, India

In a monumental stride toward inclusivity and accessibility, the Supreme Court Committee on Accessibility, spearheaded by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, unveiled its Audit Report on the physical and functional accessibility of the Supreme Court for individuals with disabilities. The committee, established by the Chief Justice of India Shri DY Chandrachud on November 28, 2022, presented its comprehensive findings on October 16, 2023, accompanied by a series of recommendations aimed at dismantling barriers hindering access to the Supreme Court.

Justice Bhat, on the occasion of the report's release, commended this pioneering endeavor, emphasizing its unprecedented nature. He extended his gratitude to the committee members and the various sub-committees for their unwavering dedication to this endeavor, which he emphasized had sought to encompass the perspectives of a wide spectrum of individuals. Notably, the audit delved into both the physical and technological dimensions of accessibility.

Chief Justice Chandrachud offered his congratulations to Justice Bhat and the committee for their diligent and comprehensive efforts. He was particularly impressed by the multifaceted approach adopted by the committee, which incorporated a wide array of research techniques to systematically and thoroughly address accessibility concerns. Their study encompassed physical audits, operational assessments, and insights gathered through exhaustive questionnaires. This encompassed an assessment of the physical infrastructure of the Supreme Court, including courtrooms, washrooms, drinking water facilities, bathrooms, canteens, registrar courts, administrative offices, common facilities, and libraries. Notably, the Chief Justice underlined that the study had incorporated independent inputs from numerous stakeholders, with special consideration for the unique challenges faced by women.

Furthermore, Chief Justice Chandrachud emphasized that the committee had rigorously evaluated functional accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Special attention was also given to understanding and resolving the distinct challenges encountered by women in the Court, spanning lawyers, litigants, and staff. Additionally, the report focused on senior citizens, acknowledging the significant presence of senior advocate professionals. A notable aspect was the committee's consideration of specialized court procedures for individuals living with HIV. The report from the committee contains a multitude of noteworthy recommendations, many of which are also legal mandate under the Rights of Persons with Disbilities Act 2016 :-

1. Establishment of route maps and comprehensive signages.

2. Development of disability-friendly pathways.

3. Creation of designated parking areas with diligent monitoring for individuals with disabilities.

4. Augmentation of access to essential facilities like washrooms, water units, canteens, and ATMs.

5. Introduction of convenience features such as battery-operated vehicles, hydraulic lifts in courtrooms and auditoriums, and reserved seating for pregnant women, individuals with disabilities, and senior citizens.

6. Provision of accessible tools, including sign language interpretation and documents catered to visually impaired individuals and stakeholders with disabilities.

7. Implementation of sensitization sessions and the assurance of dedicated service windows, online resources, and human assistance for individuals with disabilities and senior citizens.

8. Establishment of a dedicated accessibility and inclusion department within the Supreme Court's registry.

9. Introduction of specialized facilities such as feeding and changing rooms.

10. Implementation of an equal opportunity policy for the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Chandrachud further noted that the report would serve as a valuable reference for High Courts, aiding them in assessing the physical and functional accessibility within their own premises. Importantly, he also revealed that the findings of the audit report would be made accessible to the public in the near future, underscoring the commitment to transparency and accountability in fostering a more inclusive judicial system.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

One day Awareness Raising Workshop on Duties and Responsibilities of Govt. Establishments under RPWD Act 2016, held at NISD Auditorium

Mr. Vashishth conducting the training

With the goal of promoting greater inclusivity within society, the Office of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, organized a One-day Workshop  on 'Duties and Responsibilities of Govt. Establishments Under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016' conducted by Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director at CABE Foundation, as a resource person among others on September 15, 2023.

The workshop was held in the auditorium of the National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), Dwarka Sector 10, New Delhi. The objective of this workshop was to provide insights into the obligations and roles delineated in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 for the government establishments.

Fig. Banner of the event.

Government officers from several ministries and departments under the Govt. of India coming from different cities of India participated in the workshop. The workshop was simultaneously interpreted in sign language by a competent interpretor to give n inclusive experience of such sessions. The workshop started off with the first session on disability sensitization with an engaging discussion on the significance of using appropriate language and terminology when addressing individuals with disabilities. It delved into the three prevalent disability models: the charity model, the medical model, and the social model. These models offer distinct perspectives on how society views and interacts with persons with disabilities, highlighting the need for a more empathetic and inclusive approach.

One of the discussions in the workshop was situational and functional disabilities, emphasizing the critical importance of accessibility in diverse settings such as buildings, workplaces, and transportation.

The workshop also emphasized the significance of accommodating accessibility requirements and be aware of subtle ableism at display in our behaviour and attitudes. By doing so, it ensures that people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of life. This practical insight into the diverse needs of users is essential for promoting inclusivity in our communities.

The workshop was a knowledge-sharing platform that aimed to enhance the duty bearers' understanding of the rights and responsibilities outlined in the 2016 Act. It brought together professionals from various backgrounds to foster a more inclusive and accommodating environment for persons with disabilities. By addressing the intricacies of disability models, language usage, and accessibility challenges, the workshop aimed to pave the way for a more equitable and empathetic society.

Group picture of Faculty, the Dy Chief Commissioner for PwDs and Participants

It also stressed that understanding what is accessible and what is not accessible to persons with disabilities is crucial in fostering an inclusive environment. This awareness extends beyond physical spaces to encompass digital accessibility, ensuring that everyone can access information and technology without barriers.

In addition, it also discussed the legal aspects of accessibility, particularly focusing on sections 40, 41, 42, 44 and 45 of the relevant legislation of accessibility. These sections encompass accessibility in the workplace, transportation, access to information and technology, and the retrofitting of existing infrastructure to make it accessible. By addressing these facets, organizations and individuals can actively contribute to breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive society.

Mr. Naresh from the Institute of Secretariat Training and Management (ISTM) conducted the session on the implementation of 4%  reservation for different categories of persons with disabilities, particularly providing practice guidance on how to prepare the rosters to ensure the correct application of reservation percentages.

The session served as an example of light on the path to inclusiveness. It provides the information and understanding required to build a society in which everyone is treated with equality and respect. We thank the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, for organizing this important awareness raising workshop for the stakeholders.



Thursday, August 31, 2023

Transforming Public Spaces: A 3-Day in-person Training on Accessibility and Universal Design held during 28-30 Aug 2023 at National CPWD Academy

Dear Colleagues,

In a commendable effort to make our public spaces more accessible and inclusive, the National CPWD Academy recently concluded a 3-day training course on "Accessibility in Built Environment & Retrofitting in Existing Buildings as per Accessibility Norms." This empowering event took place from August 28th to August 30th, 2023, and was led by Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director at CABE Foundation and a Specialist in Universal Design and Accessibility. The primary goal of this training was to sensitize the participants on disability awareness and equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to transform our public buildings and environments into spaces that cater to the needs of all individuals.

A selfie with the participants
Fig. 1 Participants with the Faculty, Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth

The training course was unique in that it had the privilege of hosting officers (architects, civil engineers and civil servants) who were specifically tasked with implementing the Accessible India Campaign (AIC), many of them nominated by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and representing diverse regions of our incredible nation.

Participants in this training program hailed from states and union territories from various corners of India such as- Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal,  Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Goa, and more!.

The importance of this diverse representation cannot be overstated. It signifies a collective commitment to making our country more accessible, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by different regions and communities.

Participants sitting in the class.
Fig. 2. Training Participants in the class
The training sessions were structured around the newly notified Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021. The training program included intensive discussions, presentations, and interactive Q&A sessions, providing a platform for officers to address the real-world problems they encounter when implementing AIC projects. Additionally, participants had hands-on experiences, gaining valuable insights into the practical aspects of making public buildings and environments accessible to everyone.

Special thanks for the National CPWD Academy for hosting this and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for nominating the concerned stakeholders and above all sincere thanks to all the participants for your unwavering dedication to accessibility and inclusivity. This was so palpable when there was full strength and all felt that it was a much-needed session that raised their awareness on what is expected of them and the technical details of the accessibility standards.

Group Photo of the participants
Fig. Group photo of the Training Participants

Let's continue to build on this momentum, working hand in hand to ensure that our public spaces are welcoming to everyone, regardless of their abilities. Together, we can turn our vision of a more inclusive world into a reality and ensure that the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 are realised on the ground.

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

2-day in-person Capsule Course on "National Building Code 2016 - Accessibility in Buildings & Built Environment" held on 24-25 July 2023 at NITS Noida, India (with Post Event updates)

Dear A11y Enthusiasts,

Bureau of Indian Standards, the National Standards body of the country responsible for formulating Indian Standards in the various fields of science and engineering, has introduced CAPSULE COURSES on various standards/special publications of national importance.  These short training courses have been devised with the objective to train our aspiring professionals on the essence of various provisions covered in such standards/special publications for ensuring orderly development, accessibility, sustainability, health, safety and environment protection as well as to resolve their queries/concerns relating to the interpretation and implementation of provisions of these standards/special publications.  These Courses are also targeted to help professionals in acquiring state-of-the-art knowledge in that particular field which would boost their confidence and help them to deliver their services in a better and efficient manner.

One such course has been devised on National Building Code of India 2016 (NBC 2016), the model code which covers all aspects of planning, design, construction and operation and maintenance of buildings and is used by urban local bodies and various authorities involved in building regulation and building permission activities, in framing their regulations. The course on NBC 2016 has several modules covering various aspects covered in the Code such as:-

1. Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment;
2. Fire and Life Safety; 
3. Structural Design; 
4. Soil and Foundation Engineering;
5. Air Conditioning, Heating and Mechanical Ventilation; and
6. Plumbing Services. 

Government of India has launched Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) as a nation-wide Campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). It has three important verticals, namely, the Built Environment, the Transportation Sector and the ICT Ecosystem.  An accessible building and built environment is one, where persons with disabilities face no barrier in entering a building and using all the facilities therein and encompasses steps and ramps, corridors, entry gates, emergency exits, parking as well as indoor and outdoor facilities including lighting, signages, alarm systems and toilets. An accessible physical environment not just benefits persons with disabilities, it benefits everyone including the elderly and the children.  Thus, for creating an inclusive environment, it is particularly important to take measures to eliminate obstacles and barriers to indoor and outdoor facilities including schools, medical facilities, and workplaces as well as all public spaces such as roads, footpaths, parks and gardens. 

Further, under Accessible India Campaign, a large number of public builidngs were / are being audited to convert them in to fully accessible buildings. Private sector builidngs coming within the definition of 'Public Buildings" as per the RPWD Act 2016 are also being audited and retrofitted by private establishments and Green projects are designed to be 'born accessible' ensuring full accessibility based on universal design from the planning stage itself.  

Capsule Course on NBC 2016 – Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment
In order to enable the professionals and officials involved in land development and building construction to contribute towards effectively meeting the targets of Accessible India Campaign and requirements laid down in Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017, one of these modules of NBC 2016 has been designed to cover the subject of  'Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment' . 

The first two-day Capsule Course on National Building Code of India 2016 - Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment is scheduled to be held on 24-25 July 2023 at National Institute of Training for Standardization (NITS), Noida, the state-of-the art training arm of BIS.  

CABE Foundation is happy to contribute to this capsule course along with senior faculty members from the BIS. You are invited to attend this Course scheduled to be held as per the details hereinbelow:

Who should attend?
Professionals and officials involved in land development and building construction whether in ULBs or Development Agencies or Private Players. All those concerned with city planning, building regulation, and planning, design, construction and maintenance of buildings and built assets and facilities.   The course will also benefit those interested in accessibilty in buildings and surveying the usability of the building for persons with disabilities and other diverse usergroups from the perspective of Universal Design or carrying out retrofitting in existing buildngs to make them accessible.  It will also help DEI professional, consultants to ensure that built environment meets the needs of diverse usergroups at the workplaces.

Course Schedule & Duration
The Course is of 2 days duration scheduled during 24 -25 July, 2023.

Venue:     National Institute of Training for Standardization (NITS)
       A 20-21, Institutional Area, Sector 62, NOIDA-201301(UP), India 
                 Tel : +91-120-4670238, Email -

Course Fee :  INR 1,500/- only for the 2-day Course* (*Plus applicable GST). 

Hostel Facilities: The hostel facilities can be availed, if needed at NITS, Noida on chargeable basis which includes Breakfast & Dinner.

How to Apply?

1. Online Portal: Application has to be made through BIS Training Portal, as explained below, latest by 21 July 2023.:- 
    • VISIT the E-BIS Website:
    • CLICK on the "Training" Head
    • LOGIN by clicking on the blue "LOGIN" button on the top right corner
    • SIGNUP by clicking on "SIGNUP" on the Member Login Page if you are not a member otherwise "SIGN IN" using your credentials
    • FILL OUT all the fields and click on "REGISTER" and complete the registration process. 
    • CHOOSE the course you want to apply for, fill in the required information and "PAY" the requisite fee.
2. By Email: Alternatively, you can also E-mail the filled up application form to latest by 21 July 2023:- (Download the application Form : Word File 38 KB)

Criteria for Selection and Batch Size
  • Selection on First come First serve basis subject to availability of seats
  • Batch size – 40 
Certification: Certificate of participation on completion of the course.

  1. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director at CABE Foundation, Specialist- Accessibility, Universal Design & Diversity Inclusion, Accessibility Expert CPABE Level III (IAAP), Member of BIS Technical Committees- CED12, CED59, LITD35, SSD 09:03 etc. & Empaneled Access Audit Trainer (under Accessible India Campaign), Govt. of India, 
  2. Shri T.D. Dhariyal, Former Dy Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of India and Former State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. Delhi, Executive Director- CABE Foundation
  3. Ms. Madhurima Madhav, Scientist 'D' & Jt Director (Civil Engg.), Bureau of Indian Standards
Access the Course Brochure below

And the Training Program Module schedule here:

Post Event Updates:

The capsule course saw participation from diverse sectors ranging from private players, government departments, non-government organisation, practicing architects, builders and contractors undertaking accessibility related renovations and projects. CABE Foundation was happy to contribute to this important intiative and there are two more such events are planned which will be shared here a month before the courses.

Here is a tweet from the BIS on the capsule course:

Some pictures from the training:

Group picture of the participants with Faculty at the training
Picture 1. Group photo of the training participants

Mr. TD Dharyal, Executive Director, CABE Foundation taking a session
Picture 2. Sh. TD Dhariyal, Executive Director, CABE Foundation conducting a session

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, CABE Foundation conducting the training
Picture 3. Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, taking sessions at the capsule course.


Monday, June 19, 2023

Join us at the Conference on Inclusion in Cultural Spaces organised by MAP Bangalore on 01 July 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Creative of the Inclusion in the Cultural Organisations
We are delighted to announce that Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, CABE's Co-Founder & Director, will be joining the upcoming conference on 'Inclusion in Cultural Spaces', scheduled to be held on the 1st of July 2023 at Bangalore. 

Organised by the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) in Bangalore, and supported by the Mphasis F1 Foundation, the conference will bring together experts from the arts, as well as the broader development sector to highlight and demystify the complexities of inclusion within the arts.

The day-long conference will feature conversations on the status of inclusion in cultural organisations, the built environment, fostering a meaningful audience engagement, representation within the workforce, and the need for a strategic effort by funders to move towards a more inclusive art sector.

The day will also feature an introductory session on Indian Sign Language and will conclude with a networking reception.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

The event is free, but registration is mandatory.  

Register for the Conference in Person: [Weblink to Register]

Download Programme Schedule of the Conference : [PDF 146KB]

Date and Venue: 01 July 2023, Mazumdar - Shaw Auditorium, Ist Floor, 22, Kasturba Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001 (Location PIN)

Require support  or have Questions :  or visit MAP-India dot org

Thursday, May 18, 2023

National Seminar in hybrid mode on “Breaking Barriers: Universal Design for Accessibility in the Built Environment” by BIS on 13 June 2023 (With Post Event updates)

Dear Accesssibility Enthusiasts,

As you are aware, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), is the National Standards Body of India, which is inter alia responsible for promotion of harmonious development in standardization and matters connected therewith, both within the country and at international level.  In line with its mandate, BIS is engaged in the establishment, publication, review and promotion of the Indian Standards, in relation to goods, articles, processes, systems and services.

Accessibility in the built environment refers to designing and constructing buildings, public spaces, and infrastructure that can be accessed and used by persons with disabilities.  Creating an accessible built environment is essential for addressing needs of older adults and persons with disabilities, promoting social inclusion, upholding human rights, supporting the economy, and meeting legal requirements.

Recently, the draft for revision of IS 4963 “Requirement for Accessibility in Built Environment for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities” (Second Revision) has been issued in Wide Circulation.  This document is an important guideline for architects, builders, and policymakers in ensuring that buildings and public spaces are accessible to older adults and persons with disabilities.

To sensitize the sensitize professionals, government organizations, academia, NGOs, accessibility specialists, important private organizations working for the welfare of elderly people and persons with disabilities and seek comments on the wide circulation draft, we are glad to invite you to this National seminar on “Breaking Barriers: Universal Design for Accessibility in the Built Environment”.  The seminar will highlight the importance of addressing the needs of elderly people and persons with disabilities in building construction.

In the Seminar the improvements and developments to the provisions existing in the National Building Code of India 2016 (Part 3 - Annex B), particularly the revision of IS 4963 will be disseminated, and interactions held.

Date of the Seminar: Tuesday, 13 June 2023

Time: 1000 Hrs onwards 

Venue: Dr Lal C Verman Conference Hall, Bureau of Indian Standards, Manak Bhawan, 9 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110 002, India.

Mode: Hybrid (in person as well as virtual), however, registration is compulsory.


Welcome address: Shri Arun Kumar S, Scientist E & Head, Civil Engineering Department, BIS

Theme Address:    Shri Sanjay Pant, Deputy Director General, (Standardization-II), BIS 

Sensitisation Talk on Specific Needs of Diverse Users :  Shri Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Accessibility, Universal Design & Diversity Inclusion, Accessibility Expert CPABE Level III (IAAP), Director, CABE Foundation

Accessibility in NBC2016:  Smt Madhurima Madhav, Scientist D/Joint Director, Civil Engineering Department, BIS

What’s new in IS 4963:   Shri Dheeraj Damachya, Scientist B/Assistant Director, Civil Engineering Department, BIS

Access the Brochure here: 

Post Event Update:

The seminar was attended by a large number of participants from across sectors and differnet geographies. Here are some visuals from the seminar:

Image of the National Seminar Banner

Image of Sh. Sanjay Pant, DDG, BIS welcoming Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth making his presentation at the National Seminar

Ms. Madhurima Madhav & Mr. Dheeraj Damachaya speaking at the seminar

Responding to Q&A Session, Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Mr. Dheeraj Damachaya and Mr. Arun S, Head CED

Group Photo of some of the in-person participants with speakers.

Seeking your comments on Revision to IS 4963:1987 Indian Standard on Requirement for accessibility in built environment for older adults and persons with disabilities

Dear colleagues,

Wish you a very Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023!

As you may be aware, the CABE Foundation has been an active contributor to the formulation and revision of standards on accessibility and universal design in built enviornment in India. As a member of the Functional Requirements in Buildings Sectional Committee, CED 12, of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), we have been working on revision of Indian Standard IS 4963: 1987. 

The sectional committee had recently issued Document Number: CED12(22230)WC titled as "Requirement for accessibility in built environment for older adults and persons with disabilities" in Wide Circultion for public comments. The document is available on the   BIS Website.  

This document has the following salient features which may require specific attention for your valuable comments:

1)  This standard specifies the requirements of barrier free access to, movement within and around buildings, by the elderly persons and persons with disabilities who may have non-ambulatory disabilities, ambulatory disabilities, sight disabilities, hearing disabilities, etc.

2)  These requirements apply to all buildings and facilities open to and used by the public.  These shall also apply to all forms of public housing by the government/civic bodies or private developers.

3)  The reference to the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities, made in this standard shall also mean a reference to such needs of the elderly persons, children, women and persons of short stature / dwarfism in so far as the concerned provision is applicable to the type of disabilities that may be associated therewith.

The last date for sharing the comments is 01 June 2023. It will great to come together to examine the document and further improvise it in the larger interest of having an Indian Standard on universal design based built environment that meets the needs of all users, especially those with disabilities. You may like to share the comments on the document in the prescribed template through the ManakOnline portal at

Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023 once again!

Friday, April 28, 2023

Capacity Building Workshop at Chandigarh on 'Inclusive Library-A digital and Accessible Library for All'

Inaugural session of the WorkshopAccess to Libraries is an important area of intervention especially in this age of technology where STEM education is increasingly being chosen by blind and visually impaired students among others. Physical access to schools and libraries too is equally crucial for children with disabilities and convenient for other students. We need more sensitization among schools and educational institutions.

Workshop schedule of Day 1We contributed to this crucial two day Capacity Building Workshop on "Inclusive Library-A digital and Accessible Library for All" on 28 April 2023 at Sri Guru Govind Singh Public School Sector 35B Chandigarh as resource. The school, the GIEN (Global Inclusive Education Network), Centre for Disability Studies and Action, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (TISS, Mumbai), DAISY Forum of India (DFI), National Associated for the Blind, Delhi (NAB), and Brotherhood, Delhi, collaborated together to organise a two-day capacity-building workshop for the librarians, special educators, counsellors and IT professionals of schools (Primary, Middle, Secondary and Senior Secondary), special schools and universities.

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth conducted two sessions during the workshop - one each on - Legal framework on Obligations of educational institutions & libraries towards persons with disabilities, Access to ICT products & services and on How to ensure Physcial Accessibility in Schools & Libraries. Attendees were Teachers, Special Educators, Librarians, Counsellors and IT Staff from various schools, Universities and Special schools from North India. Interesting take aways from the exercise. 

Mr. Vashishth conducting the technical session with the participants.
Fig. Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth conducting the training session.

We thank Global Inclusive Education Network; Centre for Disability Studies and Action, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (TISS, Mumbai); DAISY Forum of India (DFI); National Associated for the Blind, Delhi (NAB), and Brotherhood, for this importnat collaboration!, 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

IRDAI need to act to ensure an equal and non-discriminatory Health Insurance for Persons with Disabilities

    - Drafted by Ms. Anugya Srivastava & Edited by Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Health insurance is the means to cover your medical expenses if you are at risk or injured. A comprehensive medical insurance covers the cost of hospitalisation, day-care procedures, medical care at home (domiciliary hospitalisation), and ambulance charges, amongst others. A health insurance plan helps you stay covered against various diseases. Additionally, it enables you to boost tax savings. Under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961, one can claim tax benefits against their health insurance premium. Everyone can apply for insurance. So what is there for the disabled when it comes to insurance?

HDFC Insurance’s explanation below will give us a better idea about the deep routed phenomenon of discrimination being faced by persons with disabilities particularly those with congenital disabilities (those who were born with it):

Depending on whether the disability that a person is suffering from is congenital (i.e. by birth) or accidental, various health insurance providers offer healthcare coverage scopes. Generally speaking, if the disability is congenital i.e. in the event of a person being disabled from birth, the insurance providers do not offer any healthcare coverage. This means that persons who are suffering from congenital disabilities are not eligible for healthcare coverage in the general sense of the word. However, persons who have become disabled on account of an accidental occurrence are treated as regular customers when it comes to purchasing a health insurance plan. Therefore, such persons who were not born with a disability but became disabled due to any accidental occurrence are equally eligible for healthcare coverage as is provided by the various insurance providers. There is a clear set of medical tests and documentation at the time of policy purchase, which must be duly followed and all the details pertaining to the disability must be divulged.”


What the Law says on Health Insurance for Persons with Disabilities

Article 25 of the United Nations Convention for Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which India ratified in 2007, states as under:

(e) Prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and life insurance where such insurance is permitted by national law, which shall be provided in a fair and reasonable manner”


Sections 3, 25 and 26 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD), 2016, have made it clear that a person with a disability cannot be discriminated against when accessing healthcare and its other aspects. According to Section 26 of the Act, “The appropriate Government shall, by notification, make insurance schemes for their employees with disabilities”. 

Health Insurance Schemes of Union Government, State Governments and Private Companies

Keeping in view the above provisions of the UNCRPD and RPWD Act, let us take a look at the health insurance Schemes of the Government:

Central Government:

    A. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana: Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY is the largest health insurance scheme in the world, which aims at providing health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to approximately 50 crore beneficiaries which make up the bottom 40% of the Indian population. The households included were based on the deprivation and occupational criteria of the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 (SECC 2011) for rural and urban areas, respectively. It subsumed the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), launched in 2008.

The eligibility criteria of this scheme for the beneficiaries are divided into two categories: rural and urban:

a. For the rural beneficiaries, PM-JAY covers all such families who fall into at least one of the following deprivation criteria (D1 to D5 and D7) and automatic inclusion (living on alms, manual scavenger households, tribal group, legally released bonded labour) criteria:

       D1- Only one room with kucha walls and kucha roof
       D2- No adult member between ages 16 to 59
       D3- Households with no adult male member between ages 16 to 59
       D4- Disabled member and no non-disabled adult member
       D5- SC/ST households
       D7- Landless households deriving a significant part of their income from manual casual labour

b. For the urban beneficiaries, the workers who belong to the following 11 occupational categories are eligible for the scheme:

       Domestic worker
       Street vendor/ Cobbler/hawker / other service provider working on streets
  Construction worker/ Plumber/ Mason/ Labour/ Painter/ Welder/ Security guard/ Coolie and other head-load worker
       Sweeper/ Sanitation worker/ Mali
       Home-based worker/ Artisan/ Handicrafts worker/ Tailor
   Transport worker/ Driver/ Conductor/ Helper to drivers and conductors/ Cart puller/ Rickshaw puller
  Shop worker/ Assistant/ Peon in small establishment/ Helper/Delivery assistant / Attendant/  Waiter
       Electrician/ Mechanic/ Assembler/ Repair worker

Ayushman Bharat', has 17 packages for mental health disorders, which also includes psychoactive substance use and covers ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy), rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and most of the blood tests.  But Ayushman Bharat, does not cover HIV as of today, though there are discussions to include this condition.  The main limitation of this scheme is that despite its goal of providing health insurance to the poor and vulnerable beneficiaries, the eligibility criteria for the urban beneficiaries exclude disabled professionals who are from vulnerable families living in urban areas.

          B. Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme

This Health Insurance Scheme' by the National Trust covers conditions arising from disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, and multiple disabilities. The scheme envisages delivering comprehensive cover, which will have a single premium across the age band covering people with disabilities with up to ₹1 lakh for medical treatments under the National Trust Act on a reimbursement basis. It does not require pre-insurance tests, but individuals must enroll with the National Trust and have a valid disability certificate to avail of this policy. Treatment can be taken from any hospital.

          C. Swavalamban Health Insurance

Swavalamban has been designed to deliver comprehensive cover to the beneficiary as well as his family (PwD, Spouse & up to two children), has a single premium across age bands and can be availed by PwDs aged between 18 years and 65 years with a family annual income of less than ₹ 3,00,000 per annum. In order to enable and empower persons with disabilities (PwDs) to live as independently and with dignity as possible, health services and its access to persons with disabilities assume a very significant role. The objectives of the scheme are: 

  • To provide affordable Health Insurance to persons with Blindness, Low vision, Leprosy-cured, Hearing impairment, Locomotor Disability, Intellectual Disability and Mental Illness.
  • To improve the general health condition & quality of life of persons with disabilities.

          D. Employees’ State Insurance Scheme.

Primarily designed to help factory workers handle the expenses following accidents and occupational hazards, the Employees' State Insurance Scheme is available for the workers employed in various factories in India. Under Disablement benefits, the employers’ share of contribution in respect of such disabled employees is paid by the Central Government for initial three years. Permanently disabled persons working in factories and establishments covered under ESI Act and drawing wages up to ₹25,000/- per month are covered under the scheme.  

      State Governments

Although there is no specific scheme which gives health insurance or assistance to persons with disabilities, these are some of the following scheme(s) that give financial assistance to those people who are either injured or battling an illness/disease:

A. Delhi Arogya Kosh:

Delhi Arogya Kosh (DAK) is a scheme which provides financial assistance to the extent of Rs. 5 lakhs to needy eligible patients for treatment of any illness/disease in a Government Hospital and for any illness/treatment/intervention required by the patient undergoing treatment in a Government Hospital run by Delhi Government/Central Government/Local Bodies/Autonomous Hospital under State Government.

          Eligibility Criteria

      Patients with annual family income up to Rs 3 lacs are eligible.

    The patient should be a bona fide resident of Delhi for the last three years (prior to the date of submission of the application)

 The patient requiring treatment for any illness/ treatment/ intervention in a Government Hospital run by Delhi Govt. /Central Govt. /AIIMS /Autonomous Institutes of the State Govt. /Local Bodies.

B. Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (Tamil Nadu)

This Tamil Nadu Scheme provides quality health care to the eligible person through and empanelled government and private hospitals and to reduce the financial hardship to the enrolled families and move towards universal health coverage by effectively linking with public health system. The scheme seeks to provide cashless hospitalization specific ailments/procedures the scheme provides coverage upto ₹5,00,000/- per family, per year on a floater basis for the ailments and procedures covered under the scheme. 

C. Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) (Maharashtra)

This flagship health insurance scheme of Maharashtra Govt. provides end to end cashless services for identified diseases through a network of service providers from Government and Private sector. Earlier was known as Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) it was renamed as Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) from 1st April 2017. it covers beneficiaries under three categories below:

Category A: Families holding Yellow ration card, Antyodaya Anna Yojana ration card (AAY), Annapurna ration card, Orange ration card (annual income up to INR 1 lakh) issued by Civil Supplies Department, Government of Maharashtra for 36 districts of Maharashtra.

Category B: White ration card holder farmer families from 14 agriculturally distressed districts of Maharashtra (Aurangabad, Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Washim, Yavatmal, and Wardha).

Category C:  

1. Children of Government Orphanages, Students of Government Ashram Shala, female inmates of Government Mahila Ashram & senior citizens of Government old age homes. 

2. Journalists & their dependent family members approved by DGIPR. 

3. Construction workers and their families having live registration with Maharashtra Building & other Construction worker Welfare Board.

    Health Insurance Plans by Insurance Companies

Most private insurance companies provide insurance cover to people with disabilities, but not all 21 types of disabilities given under the Schedule of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 are covered by them. For instance- 

A. Star Health Insurance has only one disability specific insurance plan called “Star Special Care”, which covers people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the age bracket of 3 to 25 years.

B. HDFC’s health insurance plans only cover people with acquired disabilities i.e. those who became disabled due to an accident or illness and excludes persons with congenital disabilities i.e. those who are disabled since birth.

C. Tata AIG’s Corporate Health Insurance also covers permanant and partial disabilities due to accidents under their Group Personal Accident Plan. However, their Individual focused health insurance plan doesn’t cover people with disabilities.

Actual State of Health Insurance for the Disabled in India

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued an advisory in 2016 and it reiterated its advisory on 02 June 2020 to  provide equitable insurance covers to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, there has not been much change in the status quo and onground situation continues to be challenging.

Judicial Interventions in the matter of Health Insurance for the Disabled in India

From the above schemes of Central and State Governments and the private health insurance companies, one may feel that adequate coverage has been given to persons with disabilities. But is it really the case? Let’s take a look at the judicial interventions on various issues pertaining to health insurance of the people with disabilities.

A. In 2009, a public interest litigation was filed by an employee of postal department in the Delhi High Court, on the grounds that the postal life insurance was giving a cover of only ₹1 lakh to the persons with disabilities against ₹5 lakhs for the non-disabled employees. Further, an extra premium was being charged from the persons with disabilities. The Delhi High Court in a milestone judgement, directed the postal life insurance to provide equal insurance coverage and not charge extra premium from the employees with disabilities.

B In 2016, Jai Prakash Tayal, holding a Mediclaim policy had filed a suit against United India Insurance Company Ltd. seeking payment of ₹5 lakh spent on his treatment while the Insurance firm had denied Mediclaim saying “genetic disease is not payable as per policy genetic exclusion clauses". The Delhi High Court ordered the IRDAI to re-look at the Exclusionary clauses in insurance contracts and ensure that insurance companies do not reject claims on the basis of exclusions relating to genetic disorders. It also upheld the judgement of the Trial Court, which stated that a person, suffering from a genetic disorder, needs medical insurance as much as others. 

C. In the case of Saurabh Shukla, an investment professional who has tetraplegia and uses a wheelchair, applied for health insurance and was denied the same by companies Max Bupa Health Insurance Co. Ltd. and Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. on the grounds of his disability and other medical conditions being high risk. Mr. Shukla approached the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, who then communicated this matter with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) directing them to advise the insurance companies to initiate the policies for persons with disabilities. In response, the IRDAI stated that the mechanism to provide health insurance covering existing disability already exists, but they didn’t give a specific reply to Mr. Shukla. Aggrieved by the response of the Insurance Regulator, Mr. Shukla approached the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, to seek quashing of the rejection of his health insurance application by the insurance companies and he also sought the direction of the Court to the insurance companies to issue a health insurance policy to him. In its defence, IRDAI referred to Regulation 8 (c) of the IRDAI Regulations 2016, which clearly states that the denial of health insurance coverage shall be the last resort of the insurer.   

D. The Delhi High Court, in its judgement dated 13 December 2022, has categorically observed that the right to life includes the right to health. It has directed the insurance regulator to organise a meeting of all insurance companies to design health insurance schemes for people with disabilities and introduce them preferably within two months. The court also asked the IRDAI to immediately modify the terminology "substandard lives" in their regulations to ensure that such "unacceptable terminology" is not used while referring to persons with disabilities, and it also permitted Mr. Shukla to approach both the insurance companies once again, and the two companies shall consider his case for issuing a health insurance policy and the question of extending insurance to Mr. Shukla shall be reviewed. It also directed that the proposal shall be placed on record before the next hearing. The Court has also directed both IRDAI and the insurance companies to file a status report two weeks before the next date of hearing i.e. 17th March 2023.

What Needs To Be Done?

Mr. Thakur Dutt Dhariyal, who was the longest-serving Deputy Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities for Govt. of India till 2014 and has also served as the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of NCT of Delhi for three years, praised the Delhi High Court judgement in Saurabh Shukla's case while also pointing out the need for an in-depth study and examination of the economic viability of providing health insurance to persons with disabilities. According to him, “It [Mr. Saurabh Shukla vs Max Bupa Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ors.] is a good judgement. It upheld the UNCRPD and RPWD Act regarding health insurance for people with disabilities. As far as health insurance premium is concerned, a greater and deeper study is needed to examine the economic viability of providing health insurance to people with disabilities. In cases where persons with disabilities require frequent hospitalisation, the insurance companies should have the evidence before denying their claim to the insurance.”  

It is hoped that on March 17, 2023, the date of next hearing of the High Court in this matter, IRDAI and the insurance companies would be able to submit a proposal of a health insurance policy for people with disabilities that doesn't discriminate on the basis of etiology of their disabilities i.e. whether acquired or congenital.

- The author is a student of Master of Social Work (Disability Studies & Action) at Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai and currently interning at CABE Foundation. The article has been edited by the leadership at CABE Foundation.