SC seeks Centre’s response on PIL for welfare of persons suffering autism spectrum disorder

 The Supreme Court Monday sought the Centre’s response on a PIL seeking formulation of guidelines under the law on disabilities for inclusion of those suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and giving them employment opportunities.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of lawyer Gaurav Kejriwal, appearing for NGO Shaurya Foundation Trust, and issued notices on its PIL.

Besides the Centre, it issued notices to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Indian Export Organisations on the PIL which also seeks involvement of the corporate firms in helping the people suffering from ASD.

The present petition is being filed in public interest to formulate guidelines and/or standard process under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 for the inclusion of the persons affected by ASD, the NGO stated.

It also sought creation of “special and appropriate facilities for inclusion of the persons affected by ASD by creating special zones wherein skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled persons affected with ASD can be given the opportunity to be employed and earn a livelihood so that such person can live a life of dignity…and/or be self-dependent in furtherance of the objectives of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act as well as the UN Convention on People with Disabilities to which India is a signatory.”

The Supreme Court ordered, “The petitioner has raised significant issues relating to formulation of guidelines under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 for the inclusion of persons affected with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Issue notice returnable in eight weeks.”

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According to the plea, the NGO is engaged in providing “holistic development” to neuro-diverse persons and is running several programmes for differently-abled persons.

“This is important as the government alone may not be in a position to provide opportunities for the large number of persons spread across the length and breadth of the country and therefore, in their efforts to provide employment the private sector should be joined so as to ensure that the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds can be earmarked for setting up special centres for skilling and upskilling so that persons with ASD could be imparted training to make them productive, employable and also self-sufficient to lead their own life, with dignity even beyond the life of their parents,” it stated.

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