The IDAP team focuses on scholars with disabilities 

and provides them with additional support and training. Additionally, this wing of IDIA also advocates for systemic changes in law schools and the wider legal ecosystem to make our spaces more accessible for persons with disabilities.

Making the legal ecosystem more disabled-friendly

‘IDIA Disability Access Programme’ or IDAP was launched on in 2015 on 3 December, which is celebrated as the United Nations’ ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’.

The theme, as selected by the United Nations in 2015, goes directly to the spirit of what IDIA advocates: “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment of people of all abilities”, and with the IDAP initiative, we aim to make a bigger impact in levelling the playing field.

IDIA has sensitised, trained and supported many students with disabilities, as well as undertaken policy, research and reform work for making legal education and the legal profession more accessible to students with disabilities. 

Key Objectives

Identify the key challenges faced by law students with disabilities

By creating support-systems for law students with disabilities, the team aims to address these problems and enable the students to compete at par with their peer group

Provision of internal support systems

Providing technical training to students with disabilities, and creating awareness about alternative means of communication among law school students and staff.

Provision of external support systems

Creating awareness about the duty that both public and private sectors institutions have towards providing infrastructural support to ensure equitable access for persons with disabilities.

IDAP Activities

One of the first projects of IDAP that we are keen on pursuing is to create a platform to enable persons with disabilities to easily access legal texts and materials. This project is dedicated to Rahul Cherian, who along with several others advocated for reforms in copyright laws of India that made it possible to convert existing texts to accessible formats for people with disabilities.

Rahul Cherian was one of the most ardent supporters of IDIA and was a part of IDIA’s Board of Advisors. Unfortunately, we lost him too soon due to a strange twist of fate. He was one of the finest activists and advocates of our time and is sorely missed. This project is a part of the legacy of Rahul Cherian and an example of his values and vision. For a touching tribute to Rahul Cherian and his legacy, see this piece by Lawrence Liang.

Our advocacy efforts have led to multiple National Law Universities purchasing and installing equipment helpful for persons with disabilities, as well as introducing policy measures that are enabling for students with disabilities. Two “accessibility labs” have been opened in collaboration with IDIA.

1. NLUO – IDIA Accessibility Lab

The lab was inaugurated by the NLUO Vice Chancellor Dr. Srikrishna Deva Rao and IDIA Scholar Saikh Jiyarul Hoque. The lab was equipped with modern equipment like Pearl Camera (used for scanning books and converting them into e-format), Braille Printer, necessary software like Ducksberry, Openbook reader and other supporting software. Read more here.

2. Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer Accessibility Lab at NUJS

In memory of IDIA founder (late) Prof. (Dr.) Shamand Basheer, this lab was inaugurated on 10th February 2020 by Prof. NK Chakrabarti, who was the Vice Chancellor at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS). The lab will be equipped with the latest technological devices such as the Index Basic-D V5 Braille Embosser, Braille Paper Tractor Feed, and the Duxbury Braille Translator. Many of these devices have been funded by IDIA. Read more here

Challenge against exclusion of blind candidates from Judiciary

The application of Arepalli Nagababu, an IDIA scholar who graduated from National Law School, Odisha, to appear in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Judicial Services Exam was rejected on the ground that he was visually challenged. The P-PIL (Promoting Public Interest Lawyering) Team, another initiative housed out of IDIA that works in the field of public interest causes, assisted Naga in his challenge against the exclusion of blind candidates from the Indian judiciary.  On November 14, 2016, the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad directed the concerned authorities to accept his application and allow him to appear for the examination. Read more.

IDAP Workshops and Training

Creating Inclusive Spaces: Empowerment through Equality

We organized this workshop as a means to effectively sensitise and induce more employers to create inclusive workspaces. This was a two-day workshop held on February 24 – 25, 2018, and was attended by various legal professionals.

IDAP Workshop for IDIA Scholars with Disabilities

The workshop for IDIA Scholars with disabilities was a two day specialised learning, training and education workshop for IDIA Scholars. The resource persons for the program were disability-rights experts, specialised trainers, and persons with disabilities in the legal profession.

IDAP Interview Series

The IDAP Interview Series is a first-of-its-kind initiative of interviewing lawyers with disabilities in all spheres of the legal profession (teaching, advocacy, litigation, corporate, etc.). The IDAP interview series aims to solicit actionable insights from lawyers with disabilities on the strategies adopted by them to excel in their field. If you have any comments/feedback on our series or if you would like us to interview a lawyer, please reach out to us at info@idialaw.org.