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Can caretakers of persons with disabilities be treated as medical personnel during lockdown: HC asks centre

The court’s direction came on a plea which sought direction to authorities to “classify caretakers, attendants and support staff of the persons with disabilities as medical personnel and grant them exemptions under the NDM Act"

Written by Pritam Pal Singh | New Delhi | Published: May 9, 2020 12:18:33 am
persons with disabilities, National Disaster Manager (NDM) Act, delhi hc pleas on coronavirus, covid 19 plea delhi hc, coronavirus news, latest news, indian express The Delhi High Court (File Photo)

The Delhi High Court Friday directed the Centre to consider whether caretakers, attendants and support staff of persons with disabilities could be granted exemption under the National Disaster Manager (NDM) Act.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva further said that the decision on the issue would be for the “purposes of providing support to the persons with disability, who do not have any in house support and are unable to take care of themselves without such support”.

“The competent authority shall also consider, as which category of persons with disability’s caretakers, attendants and support staff would be granted exemption and subject to what conditions,” the court said and asked the counsel for the Central government to take instruction by the next date of hearing, May 13.

The court’s direction came on a plea by Varun Khullar, a person with disabilities, who sought direction to authorities to “classify caretakers, attendants and support staff of the persons with disabilities as medical personnel and consequently, grant them exemptions under the NDM Act, including but not limited to their transit.”

It was prayed that exemption be granted to attendants and support staff, so that it eases their travel to the residence of the persons with disabilities.

The counsel for the petitioner also submitted that his client is a “person suffering with 100% disability below D5-6 level and accordingly, cannot perform his day-to-day functions without the help of a caretaker/attendant”.

He argued that in view of the lockdown and the guidelines issued by Union of India, the caretakers and support staff of persons with great difficulty are not granted exemptions under the NDM Act and as such, are not in a position to obtain a pass for travelling from their residences to the residence of the person with disabilities to support him.

The counsel submitted that some of the “caretakers/attendants and support staff are not registered as medical personnel and accordingly, do not satisfy the criteria prescribed by the government for grant of exemptions under NDM Act.”

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