Heart Ailment Not A 'Disability' Covered Under Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act: Supreme Court
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court said a heart ailment under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act can not be included as a disability. Vision deficiency, locomotor disability, mental disorder, mental retardation, hearing impairment and leprosy are taken into account in Section 2(i) of the Act.' The definition of disability in the Act does not cover a heart ailment. In their definition of disability, we would refuse to import terms that the legislature decided not to," observed a three-judge Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy."
The judgment came on an appeal lodged for disability benefits by a sailor. The Bench upheld the Patna High Court's judgment, which concluded that under Section 47 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Security of Rights and Full Participation) Act, the dilated cardiomyopathy condition suffered by the seaman would not allow any benefit to the appellant. In the present case, no relation could be formed between the on-ship responsibility and the medical condition of the appellant. The appellant's dilated cardiomyopathy disorder is neither a defined disability nor is it the same as that related to a wide variety of impairments, hampering its complete and successful involvement in society,' the court held.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disorder in which the tissue of the heart becomes debilitated and swollen. As a consequence, ample blood can not be pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. Nawal Kishore Sharma, the plaintiff, had challenged the denial by the High Court of his application for compensation for disability under clause 21 of the Agreement of the National Maritime Board.