Indian SC’s Vikash Kumar judgment allows dignity for the disabled: Harvard scholars

May 2, 2023.

A little over two years ago, in the landmark case of Vikash Kumar vs. UPSC argued by the Disability Law Initiative, the Supreme Court of India expressed the necessity of providing reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities to compensate for their specific disabling condition. In reviewing the operation and impact of this judgment since then, the Disability Law Initiative has found that it has drawn wide attention, and Indian courts have relied upon the Vikash Kumar judgment in several later cases. Notably, Harvard University scholars say that the Indian Supreme Court exceeded even the US Supreme Court’s approach, by recognizing that the request for reasonable accommodation forms part of the larger quest for dignity by persons with disabilities.

In the Vikash Kumar judgment on 11th February 2021, the Supreme Court had said that UPSC’s duty to accommodate persons with disabilities was related to the larger goal of “ensur[ing] that persons with disabilities are able to live a life of equality and dignity based on respect in society for their bodily and mental integrity.”

The authors of the Harvard article, who hold senior positions at the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, said:


“The inclusion of dignity in the above line is crucial. We can think of no comparable full-throated affirmation of persons with disabilities’ right to live in the world as valued members featuring in the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)…”

For a link to the Harvard article, click here.