The guidelines framed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under Section 56 of the RPwD Act outline the assessment for specified disabilities, including SLDs. This assessment is deemed essential for obtaining a certificate of disability, which in turn ensures entitlement to privileges under Chapter VI of the RPwD Act.
For the assessment of SLDs, the guidelines prescribe the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) Battery test. However, this test is available only for the assessment of SLDs during the developmental years of a person.
Effectively, any person with an SLD who attained majority before the enforcement of the RPwD Act stands excluded from the ambit of the Act.
Furthermore, the petitioner claimed that in response to applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the respondents have stated that no tool has been prescribed to screen and diagnose adults with SLDs for the purpose of certification under the RPwD Act.
The petitioner asserted that tools for assessing SLDs in adults are, in fact, available.
As such, he contended violation of his fundamental rights under Articles 14, 16, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.
Senior Advocate Dr S Muralidhar and advocates A Karthik, Govind Manoharan and Samiksha Godiyal appeared for the petitioner.