Minimizing vulnerability of persons with disabilities through legislative responses In criminal procedure in India
Access to justice is a core element of the Criminal Justice System. The system in India, however, is ill-equipped to facilitate Persons with Disabilities in accessing its agencies. PwDs, like able-bodied persons, can be victims of crime. It is seen that institutional, attitudinal and environmental barriers coupled with lack of affirmative provisions impair their prospects in bringing criminal law into motion. Foremost difficulty that this system poses to PwDs is communication of the occurrence of a crime. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 prescribes no specific procedure for recording of statements and information of crime as provided by PwDs to the police and Magistrates. The system also leads to victimisation of a PwD upon incarceration being forced to live with a compromised right to live with human dignity. Using doctrinal research, specifically case-studies through judgements, few on-going public interest litigations, and an analysis of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and their interpretation in judgements of the Supreme Court of India, the present paper highlights issues and challenges that legislative lacunae pose for PwDs in India. It concludes that to tackle the problems relating to access to justice, need- based legislative responses in criminal procedure are required.
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