Use of the word ‘handicapped’ banned


Letter No. 10-04/CCD/2012 dated 7th February, 2012 issued by Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities calls upon everyone to discourage and ban the use of the expression “handicapped” atleast in all official correspondence, official reports, Government Institutions, organizations, etc.

It also speaks of discouraging the use of expression “differently abled”, and ban the use of word ‘handicapped’ and other demeaning expressions with immediate effect.

It goes without saying that the expression “handicapped” violates and undermines the dignity of persons with disabilities which is so manifestly against the spirit of the Constitution of India, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, and, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India is a State party.

Moreover, the use of such other expressions as “differently disabled” should also be discouraged as such an expression harps more on the differentiality dimension at a time when we need to promote equality dimension. In addition, no two living entities under the sun are uniformally abled or uniformally disabled in all respects. In that sense, each one of us, regardless of our ability or disability, happens to be unique and different. Therefore, it is erroneous to single otu and to describe only persons with disabilities as “differently abled”.

While concluding the directive says:

… it would be appropriate to describe such persons as “persons with disabilities” or for that matter, as “persons with blindness”, “persons with speech and hearing impairment”, “persons with locomotor disabilities”, etc. wherever such description is both necessary and relevant.

 

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