This page provides a brief summary of all the relevant Acts. For the full Act kindly click on the title of the Act.The chronological placement of the Act is merely for convenience and do not express the importance or relevance of the Acts.

The Mental Health Act, 1987

The Mental Health Act, 1987, repealed the Indian Lunacy Act, 1912 with a clear aim and object to consolidating the law relating to mentally ill persons, better management of the property of a mentally ill person and for dealing with matters connected with the affairs of the property of mentally ill, with the overall object that a mentally ill person be given all protection. It is social welfare legislation.

The main objectives of the act are:

  • To establish central and state authorities for licensing and supervising the psychiatric hospitals.
  • To establish such psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes.
  • To provide a check on working of these hospitals.
  • To provide for the custody of mentally ill persons who are unable to look after themselves are dangerous for themselves or others.
  • To protect the society from dangerous manifestations of mentally ill.
  • To regulate procedure of admission and discharge of mentally ill persons to the psychiatric hospitals or nursing homes either on voluntary basis or on request.
  • To safeguard the rights of these detained individuals.
  • To protect citizens from being detained unnecessarily.
  • To provide for the maintenance charges of mentally ill persons undergoing treatment in such hospitals.
  • To provide legal aid to poor mentally ill criminals at state expenses
  • To change offensive terminologies of Indian Lunacy act to new soother ones.

The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992

This act came into being to regulate the training of rehabilitation professionals and to maintain a Central Rehabilitation Register to certify rehabilitation professionals. Thus by this act, the Rehabilitation Council of India has become the apex body to further professional development of those in the field of disability rehabilitation.

According to this act, the term “rehabilitation professionals” refers to:

  • Audiologists and speech therapists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Hearing aid and ear mould technicians
  • Special educators
  • Vocational counsellors, employment officers and placement officers working with persons with disability
  • Multi-purpose rehabilitation therapists, technicians or
  • Other categories of professionals that the Central government may include in consultation with the Council

The main aims of the Rehabilitation Council of India are:

  • To regulate training policies and programs in the field of disability rehabilitation.
  • To standardize training courses for professionals working with people with disabilities.
  • To prescribe minimum standards of education and training of various categories of professionals working with people with disabilities.
  • To recognize institutions/universities running degree/diploma/certificate courses in the field of disability rehabilitation.
  • To recognize foreign degree/diploma/certificates awarded by universities/institutions on a reciprocal basis.
  • To maintain a Central Rehabilitation Register of Institutions possessing the recognized rehabilitation qualification.

The Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995

The purpose of this Act which was made law in 1996 is to fix responsibilities on the Central and State Government to the extent of their resources permit, to provide services, create facilities and give support to people with disabilities in order to enable them to have equal opportunities in participating as productive and contributing citizens of this country to the fullest extent their abilities.

It fixes its responsibilities on the Governments (Centre and State) to ensure that disabilities do not prevent individual citizens of this country from living a full life and making full contribution each in accordance with his/her ability.
This Act provides a frame within which specific demands can be made by the disabled people in order to ensure that the promises made in this Act are honoured by the Government.

The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, & Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999

This Act provides for the constitution of a national body for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities. Such a national body will be a trust whose objects shall be as under:

  • to strengthen facilities to provide support to persons with disability to live within their own families;
  • to extend support to registered organisation to provide need based services during the period of crisis in the family of persons with disability;
  • to deal with problems of persons with disability who do not have family support;
  • to promote measures for the care and protection of persons with disability in the event of death of their parent or guardian;
  • to evolve procedure for the appointment of guardians and trustees for persons with disability requiring such protection;
  • to facilitate the realization of equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation of persons with disability; and
  • to do any other act which is incidental to the aforesaid objects.

The Right to Information Act, 2005

The Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India. It is the implementation of freedom of information legislation in India on a national level. The Act applies to all States and Union Territories of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir – which is covered under a State-level law. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen (excluding the citizens within J&K) may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrument of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.

The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally. This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 13 October 2005. Information disclosure in India was previously restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act now relaxes.

The Act specifies that citizens have a right to:

  • Request any information (as defined in the Act).
  • Obtain copies of documents.
  • Inspect documents, works and records.
  • Take certified samples of materials of work.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

The Act makes education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14 and specifies minimum norms in elementary schools. It requires all private schools to reserve 25% of seats to children from poor families (to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan). It also prohibits all unrecognized schools from practice, and makes provisions for no donation or capitation fees and no interview of the child or parent for admission.

The Act also provides that no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education. There is also a provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them up to par with students of the same age.

The RTE act requires surveys that will monitor all neighbourhoods, identify children requiring education, and set up facilities for providing it. The RTE Act is the first legislation in the world that puts the responsibility of ensuring enrollment, attendance and completion on the Government. It is the parents’ responsibility to send the children to schools in the U.S. and other countries.

The Right to Education of persons with disabilities until 18 years of age has also been made a fundamental right and inclusion of the disabled children in mainstream schools is what the Act aims for. A number of other provisions regarding improvement of school infrastructure, teacher-student ratio and faculty are made in the Act.
The Act provides for a special organization, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights , an autonomous body set up in 2007, to monitor the implementation of the act, together with Commissions to be set up by the states.