On May 13, 2020, the Delhi High Court disposed of the case, Varun Khullar vs. Union of India, via Video Conferencing. This Case dealt with the implementation of Section 8, of the Persons with Disability Act, 2016.
Brief Facts of the Case
The petitioner suffers from 100% disability below the D5-6 level. Hence, he cannot perform his day-to-day functions without the help of a caretaker/attendant.
Prayer of the Petitioner
The Petitioner Prayed for the following relief:
a.) To Issue a writ, order, or direction of mandamus. That herein, the Court must direct the Respondents to give effect to S.8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
b.) To Issue a writ, order, or direction of mandamus to the Respondents to classify the caretakers, attendants & support staff of PWDs as medical personnel. Furthermore, these exemptions under NDMA are necessary, including but not limited to their transit.
c.) To Issue a writ, order or direction to the Respondents to install an action plan. That this action plan should deal with the issues faced by PWDs during the nationwide lockdown.
d.) Such and other orders that this Hon’ble Court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the instant case.
Additional Guidelines by the Court
On the last date of hearing, the Court passed these prayers along with a few more guidelines:
- The Court, kept in mind the lock-down and the guidelines issued by Union of India. They observed that the caretakers, attendants and support staff were not granted exemptions under the NDMA. They cannot get a pass for travelling to and from the residences of the disabled persons to support them.
- Some caretakers/attendants and support staff are not registered as medical personnel. They do not meet the criteria prescribed by the Govt. for grant of exemptions under NDMA.
- Such caretakers/attendants and support staff of disabled persons should be exempted. This will ease their travel to the residence of the persons with disabilities.
- The Court directed the Central Govt. to see if they can exempt caretakers, attendants & support staff of disabled persons under NDMA. This is to assist the persons who don’t have in-house support and cannot take care of themselves. The competent authority must also see what category of caretakers, attendants & support staff they should exempt and under what conditions.
The Addn. Solicitor General appearing for the UOI had prayed for time to take the instructions.
Contentions of the Parties
Adv. Maninder Acharya, ASG appearing for the UOI told the Court about the guidelines of the Central Govt. with reference to Section 8(2) of the Act. Furthermore, the Advocate told the Court that the guidelines are an answer to the grievance of the Petitioner.
Additionally, Adv. Shadan Farasat, Additional Standing Counsel appearing for the Govt. of NCT of Delhi assured that the guidelines issued by the Central Govt. on March 26, 2020, are being implemented by GNCTD.
Finally, the petitioner’s counsel agreed that the guidelines issued by the Court are adequate, and are satisfied with the same.
Decision of the Court
The HC gave the petitioner liberty to approach the Court if there is any other grievance and seek remedy. The single-judge bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao of the Delhi High Court disposed of the plea with no costs.
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