Kerala High Court upholds rights of 100% disabled person as 'person with disability' under National Trust Act
Rosamma vs District Collector, Wayanad Collectorate, Kalpetta, Wayanad & Ors WP(c) No.21082/17 before High Court of Kerala Ulahannan met with a road accident after which, he is presently completely comatose and bedridden with 100% locomotive disability. He is being kept alive through nasal feeling. Before his accident, he had a small plot of land on which he had started the construction of the foundation for a small house. But the construction has halted after the accident. Rosamma, Ulahannan's wife, had applied to the local level committee (LLC) Wayanad, under the National Trust Act, to appoint her as Ulahannan's guardian because he is now 100% disabled, in a vegetative state and comatose. But the LLC expressed apprehensions about whether this case came within the definition of "person with disability". On this matter, Ulahannan's family approached HRLN, Wayanad, and through its advocates Ferha Azeez and Badra Kumari filed a writ before the Kerala High Court. The court suo moto issued notice to the stakeholders in the matter, including the Central Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi. It also called for a report from the medical board at Mysore (Karnataka) where the patient is now receiving treatment. The court also directed the DLSA, Mysuru to accompany the medical board for examination. After these were complied with, the court heard all parties and the state and central government councils and the Amicus Curie. It then ordered that a 100% disabled person should be covered under the National Trust Act as under Section 14 of the Act. It said that section 13 of the Act provided for the appointment of a guardian by the LLC, and directed the LLC to consider the application expeditiously. This judgment interpreted the word "person with disability" in the National Trust Act to include a person who is 100% disabled due to an accident and is in a vegetative state, and that the LLC is competent to appoint guardian for such a person. HRLN Wayanad has produced a copy of the order before the LLC, Wayanad for speedy action. This order is great relief to Ulahannan's family.