The Delhi High Court on Friday has directed Central Government to consider whether caretakers, attendants, and the support staff of persons with disabilities could be granted exemption under the National Disaster Management Act to provide support to the persons with disability amid COVID-19 lockdown.
While conducting hearing through Video Conferencing Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said, “it would be appropriate to direct the Central Government to consider as to whether caretakers, attendants and support staff of persons with disabilities could be granted exemption under the National Disaster Manager Act to provide support to the persons with a disability, who do not have any in house support and are unable to take care of themselves without such support.”
The Court was hearing a petition filed by Mr. Varun Khullar suffering from with disability. The petition has been filed seeking direction to the Central Government to classify caretakers, attendants, and support staff of the persons with disabilities as medical personnel and consequently, grant them exemptions under the National Disaster Management Act, including but not limited to their transit.
The counsel appearing for Mr. Khullar submitted before the Court that petitioner is a person suffering from 100% disability below D5-6 level and accordingly, cannot perform his day-to-day functions without the help of a caretaker/attendant.
He also submitted that because of lockdown and the guidelines issued by Union of India, the caretakers/attendants and support staff of persons with great difficulty have not granted exemptions under the National Disaster Management Act and as such, are not in a position to obtain a pass for traveling from their residences to the residence of the person with disabilities to support him.
He further informed the court that some of the caretakers are not registered as medical personnel and hence, do not qualify the criteria provided by the Government to grant an exemption under National Disaster Management Act.
The Court has also directed the competent Authority to consider as which category of persons with disability’s caretakers, attendants and support staff would be granted exemption and subject to what conditions.
The Additional Solicitor General Ms. Maninder Kaur Acharya has sought time to take the instruction.
The matter now would be heard on May 13.
-India Legal Bureau