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Rethinking the Legal Personhood Foundation for People with Disability – The Decaying Legal Capacity

Image Courtesy – Rathul K.L.

In this present 21st century, as people run behind developments and technology, it can be seen that persons with disability (PWD) are treated with less social status in society. Persons with disabilities are often looked down upon by people, they are considered as a group of people who are unable to live a normal life like others in society. Their identity is always challenged due to this difference in treatment which needs wide acknowledgment from others to let the disabled persons live a full life without any kind of differences. PWD, being one of the most marginalized groups in society requires more care and consideration as the inequalities are manifested in different ways and means.

The questions regarding the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community have access to public places, the right to work, the right to involve in public affairs, etc are often raised due to the increasing issues in these areas. These issues or aspects have to be considered seriously and proper remedies have to be taken for the smooth functioning of society. As people form an integral part of society, it is important to involve everyone in the balanced development of society.

The legal foundation of Personhood for People with Disability

The issue of providing the status of “person” to disabled persons has been discussed a lot and their abilities have been an issue of concern. Even though they are given special status and consideration in many aspects, they are always treated as inferior to the others in society and are not considered as a person just like the others in society. Persons with disability have asked for the recognition of complete legal personhood where they are claiming recognition of their rights to overcome the issues of oppression and ill-treatment by the dominant society.

The concept of legal personhood can be understood by focusing on how the individual is exercising personhood. The disabilities illuminate the relational reality of autonomy because the people who have a disability are mostly dependent on others. But it cannot be said that disability causes dependence as it varies based on the changing circumstances in society. While dealing with legal personhood and decision-making in the legal aspects it can be seen that there is the involvement of a third party as disabled persons are considered vulnerable and weak. These vulnerable groups need to be protected through the proper implementation of rules and regulations along with support from the authorities and others in society. Their dependence on the other should not be taken for granted rather it has to be protected and their vulnerability has to be secured and supported in the best way possible. 

Demand for recognition of Legal Personhood


People with disability have been demanding the recognition of their full legal personhood for realizing their rights. If the long history of disabled people is analyzed, it can be seen that there are various instances where people with disability were dehumanized based on various grounds. Different thinkers have supported the concept of equality concerning the rights provided to legal personhood considering people with disability and other humans. It can be seen that personhood cannot be considered an independent concept as it is always reliant upon the surroundings, relationships, and other dynamics concerning the same. The problems of domination and other kinds of oppression by others in society are creating a situation where they are demanding the recognition of their rights based on the need and changing circumstances in society.

The right of people with disability has to be recognized and understood for the betterment of the particular community and others in society. In the present society, it can be seen that the number of people with disability has increased due to the changing circumstances in society along with the changes in the lifestyle of the people. In such a situation, it is important to understand their status in society and provide services based on the same for the overall development of society rather than oppressing a particular group of people and supporting others in society. The efforts made by the persons with disability have to be respected and proper responses have to be given as they require support from society for their existence and the members of the society have the duty to provide them with the same under any circumstances.

Domination in Society and People with Disability

If the situation of people with disability in any society is analyzed, it can be seen that irrespective of the place or society, the people with disability are always considered inferior to the others in society. The dominant society and the people in high positions do not give much value to those people with disability as they are treated as a group who are incapable of doing anything. This discrimination is seen at a greater rate in the present society where even though a special reservation is given to them, they are not treated in a special way or on an equal basis with other humans. The concept of dominance has been discussed in different ways where different meanings are given with precise boundaries.

This problem of domination mainly occurs due to discrimination, social exclusion, marginalization, and other related methods. While dealing with dominance, the experience of the people with disability and the relationships of the people with nature has to be analyzed based on the circumstances. This dominance has a negative impact due to the lack of power of one party and the inability of the same to raise their voice against the atrocities and seek redress if in case the person in the dominant position shows any kind of power over the oppressed person.

The domination shown by a certain group of people in the society needs to be changed and equality and equal opportunities have to be given importance to ensure that the functioning and development of the society are happening in a balanced manner without any kind of differences or discrimination which will create a situation of having different groups in the society.

The Decaying Legal Capacity of People with Disability

In this present society, if the situation of disabled people is analyzed, it can be seen that they are facing a lot of difficulties in various aspects due to their inability in doing the normal functions of a human being. The nature of the difficulty varies based on the disability of the person where the intensity of the disability determines the need for proper legal guidance from others in society. Every person including the disabled has the right to life and liberty which is provided under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) discusses the rights provided to persons with any kind of disability where the right to equal recognition before the law is mentioned focusing on the need to practice equality in society. The Committee on the right of persons with disabilities also focuses on protecting disabled people where their identity is given proper recognition without any kind of differences or discrimination. Such initiatives should focus on eliminating the barriers which prevent citizens with disabilities from living their life by participating fully in society. If the sectors involving disabled persons are analyzed, it can be seen that they are surviving in unfavorable situations where they have to fight against all kinds of difficulties and problems coming from huge dominant groups in society.


The question of the legal personhood of people with disability has to be analyzed properly and the required measures have to be taken as the weak and vulnerable sections in society deserve more consideration when compared to the others in the society. They have to be provided with certain incentives and benefits to ensure that they are part of society just like the others. In this changing society, along with providing reservations to those who are disabled, it is important to consider them as a part of society for the betterment of the same. The situation in society and the legal capacity concerning those people with disability is degrading with time and hence it is the duty of the authorities and others to ensure that proper recognition is given to them in society.

As the situation of those people is getting worse with time, it is right to demand their rights and raise their voices against the atrocities and oppression faced by them by others in society. It is important to provide a position to everyone in the society to ensure the smooth functioning of society. The importance of equality and the distribution of opportunities to all the people without any kind of discrimination is required for the proper functioning of society and hence in these changing situations, there has to be proper consideration of such weak and vulnerable groups or communities who require the support and guidance of others.

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