An Act of parliament to amend the persons with disability act2003


Insertion of a new section after section 11 of No. 14 of 2003

Clause 11A

Reference to persons with disabilities

The Council shall develop a system that provides for the setting out of the specific disabilities in the recognition of persons with disabilities.

The Council shall use dignified language in the registration and certification of persons with disabilities.

For sub-clause (1), developing such a system of setting out specific disabilities ensures that persons with diverse disabilities receive appropriate support and accommodation. By categorizing disabilities, the Council can tailor services and resources to meet the unique needs of different disability groups.

This is a welcome proposal noting that in certain instances, persons with specific disabilities have raised concerns that certain services or facilities in different private or public places are not tailored to suit their specific needs, but instead there is a generality that a specific service or facility is ‘set aside or tailored to serve persons with disability’ when that particular service or facility is not specifically tailored to assist them to the extent of that specific disability.

For example, there was a discussion on social media a while back, about how the roads in the United Kingdom (UK) are very easily accessible to persons who are completely blind to the extent that they can move around without assistance, the roads are equipped with ramps on the side so that the white cane is able to detect how the particular individual is moving and when there is a turning or a change of terrain on the road, then there is a textured surface to guide them and this is also detected by the white cane.

For sub-clause (2), using dignified language demonstrates respect for the inherent dignity and worth of persons with disabilities. It acknowledges their humanity and affirms their right to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their disability status.

Amendment of section 26 of No. 14 of 2003

Section 26 of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 (“the principal Act”) is amended:

a. by deleting the words “Adjustment orders and discrimination” appearing in the marginal note;
b. in subsection (1) by inserting the following new paragraph immediately after paragraph (e):

“(f) uses undignified, disrespectful or offensive names or language when referring to a person with disabilities”; and

c. in subsection (2) by deleting the words “twenty thousand” appearing immediately after the words “not exceeding” and substituting therefor the words “one million”.

This clause seeks to not only add an additional offence but also increase the fine payable by a person who is convicted of an offence listed in section 26(1) of the principal Act. This proposal seeks to act as a deterrence to discriminating against persons with disability as it ensures that a person complies with the provisions of the principal Act.

Important comment to be considered

We propose the withdrawal of this Bill.

Currently, another Bill called the Persons with Disabilities Bill No. 26 of 2023 is being discussed by Parliament. It proposes to repeal the principal Act. On the other hand, this Bill proposes to make amendments to the principal Act.

The correct course of action would be to harmonize the two Bills into one legislation. This will remedy the over-legislation issue present.