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SC issues notice on disability details of advocates for data-driven policies

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court issued notices to the Union Government, the Bar Council of India, and state Bar councils seeking their responses on a public interest petition for securing disability rights of advocates.

ON Monday, the Supreme Court issued notice on a public interest litigation seeking a direction to state Bar councils to collect enrollment form details on the disability status of applicant-advocates.

The notice has been issued so that data-driven policies which provide for accessible justice to the disabled can be implemented.

A three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued notices to the Union Government, the Bar Council of India (BCI), and state Bar councils seeking their responses on the petition.

Petitioner Fateh Mohit Whig had submitted a representation to the BCI, urging it to collect the data on the disability status but the BCI chose not to reply to the representation.

In his petition, Whig contends that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act came into existence in 2017 and provides a level-playing field to persons with disabilities.

The Act, the petitioner adds, provides rights and entitlements, social security, health, and rehabilitation to persons with disabilities.

Under the law, special provisions have been made for people with benchmark disabilities, and persons with disabilities with high support needs, the petition further states.

There are also provisions related to the duties and responsibilities of appropriate governments, special courts, national funds, and state funds for persons with disabilities, the petition notes.

It is in this context that the petitioner argued that the data collection of lawyers who are persons with disabilities with respect to their disability is essential for increasing their representation in the Bar, addressing their specific needs, providing support, advocating for their rights, informing policy development and challenging stereotypes.

Doing so will play a crucial role in promoting diversity, inclusion and equity within the legal profession. It will also ensure that people with disabilities can lead a legal career in courts with dignity,” the petitioner submitted.

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