Decided on May 12,2016

Jeeja Ghosh And Anr. Appellant
Union of India And Ors. Respondents


- (1.) In the book on the rights of differently abled persons authored by Joseph P. Shapiro, which is titled "NO PITY"1 , the first chapter, 'Introduction' has the sub-title 'You Just Don't Understand' and the very first sentence of the said book is : 'Nondisabled Americans do not understand disabled ones'.
(2.) The present PIL, spearheaded by Jeeja Ghosh, who is herself a disabled person, with the support of the NGO ADAPT (Able Disable All People Together), bears testimony to the statement of Shapiro. Irony is that though the aforesaid remarks were made by Shapiro way back in the year 1993 and notwithstanding the fact that there have been significant movements in recognising the rights of differently abled persons, much is yet to be achieved. India also has come out with various legislations and schemes for the upliftment of such differently abled persons, but gap between the laws and reality still remains. Even though human rights activists have made their best efforts to create awareness that people with disabilities have also right to enjoy their life and spend the same not only with the sense of fulfilment but also to make them contribute in the growth of the society, yet mindset of large section of the people who claim themselves to be 'able' persons still needs to be changed towards differently abled persons. It is this mindset of the other class which is still preventing, in a great measure, differently abled persons from enjoying their human rights which are otherwise recognised in their favour. Present case, though a PIL, got triggered by an incident which proves aforesaid introductory statement made by us.
(3.) Petitioner no. 1, Ms. Jeeja Ghosh is an Indian citizen with cerebral palsy. She is an eminent activist involved in disability rights. She is, inter alia, a Board member of the National Trust, an organization of the Government of India, set up under the "National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities" Act (Act 4 of 1999). Ms. Ghosh has been felicitated by the West Bengal Commission for Women on the occasion of International Women's Day in the year 2004, and is the recipient of the Shri N.D. Diwan Memorial Award for Outstanding Professional Services in Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities by the National Society for Equal Opportunities of the Handicapped (NASEOH) in the year 2007. Ms. Jeeja Ghosh is also the recipient of the 'Role Model Award' from the Office of the Disability Commissioner, Government of West Bengal, for the year 2009, and was also an elected Board Member of the National Trust for Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Disabilities and Mental Retardation from 14th August, 2008 to 19th July, 2011. This Curriculum Vitae of petitioner no. 1 amply demonstrates how a person suffering from cerebral palsy, can overcome the disability and achieve such distinctions in her life, notwithstanding various kinds of retardation and the negative attitudes which such persons has to face from the society.;

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