The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999

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The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 (Act No. 44 of 1999) dated 30th December, 1999 was being Act of Parliament, enacted with the object to deal with welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities by constituting a National Level Body. The Act was assented by President on 30th December, 1999. It contains seven chapters with 36 sections providing for several matters including constitution of aforesaid National Level Body.

The Constitution of India provides for the Disability issues, which is kept under State List to legislate on such issue. Similarly, Article 41 and 46 thereof deals with the issue and directs the State to make effective provision thereof. However, the Articles 15 and 16 prohibits discrimination in the matter of employment and access to public facilities on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth, but it is silent on disability. In fact, the service rules also until 1995 prevented entry of disabled persons in higher grades of service. But with the increasing awareness on issue of disability several acts were made to protect the rights of the disabled people, including present one.

The Act was provided with its extension to whole of India but not covers the State of Jammu and Kashmir as provided under Section 1 of it. Another important provision i.e. Section 2 of the Act defines various terms used under the different provisions of this Act.

The second Chapter of the Act (from Section 3 to 9) makes provisions similar to the purpose of this Act and wherein Section 3 of the Act deals with the Constitution of National Trust for Welfare of such persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability, etc. by the Central Government and it should be a corporate body and should have all similarities as that of corporate company. Sub Section (2) of the provision deals with superintendence, management, etc. of affairs of this Trust, which should be dealt with by a Board and New Delhi is a location of its head office and for other offices, the Board is vested with authority to establish such other offices at other places in Country.  Sub Section (4) of the provision is important so far as it relates to persons who should play part in Board, wherein Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government; 9 persons from the registered organizations, initially nominated by the Central Government; 8 persons not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, nominated by Government representing the Ministries or Departments of Social Justice and Empowerment, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Finance, Labour, Education, Urban Affairs and Employment and Rural Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Members; Chief Executive Officer from the equal rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Member-Secretary. Section 4, further, makes provisions as to term of office of such person which extends to 3 years from their appointment date. Also the same section makes provisions as to meetings. Moreover, the Section 5 of the Act provides for resignation of Chairperson and also of members and Section 6 specifies conditions under which a person to be held disqualified for becoming a member. Similarly, Section 7 of the Act deals with vacation of office of Members. And Section 8 deals with appointment of Chief Executive Officer and Staff of Trust by the Central Government.

The next Chapter i.e. Chapter III of the Act clarifies the object of the Trust wherein, the list of objects are given under various clauses. The examples can be given of the empowerment of disabled person to live independently and close to their belonging community; extending support to registered organizations for providing services as per need during crisis period; etc.

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The another Chapter i.e. Chapter IV of the Act deals with powers and obligation which the Board to perform. Section 11 of the Act specifies that the Board should do all the acts enlisted under different clauses provided under same section, including receipt of contribution from the Central Government, receipt of bequest of movable property  from any person for disabled persons’ benefit, and all other given matters.

The Act under its Fifth Chapter makes provisions as to registration of associations set up by disabled persons or by parents of such persons or even of voluntary organization with its main object to promote welfare of disabled persons. Under the procedure for registration, as per section 12 of the Act, an application has to be made by such association in the prescribed manner and on such application the Board has to make an enquiry as to genuineness and the Board can then, grant such application and also grant registration thereof.

The next chapter deals with provisions as to constitution of Local Level Committees by the Board for prescribed areas. Such committees should consist of one officer of civil service of Union or of the State but he should not be below the rank of District Magistrate or Commissioner of District. Also there should be a representative of registered organization and one disabled. The another important provision as to appointment of guardian to the disabled person contained under same chapter, wherein, the parent of such persons or his relative or even an registered organization can apply, with the consent of guardian of disabled persons, to the Local Level Committee, for appointment of person of their choice as guardian of such disabled persons. On such application the Local Level Committee after considering the need of such appointment and the purpose thereof, should decide the application by following provision contained under regulation made in this behalf. Further, section 15 provides for duties of such guardian, and section 16 specifies one another duty to furnish inventory and annual accounts within 6 months period from his appointment. Moreover, section 17 of the Act deals with provisions as to removal of such guardian under the given situations. The Chapter VII of the Act speaks of accountability and monitoring of books and documents in possession of Board, also it describes the provisions as to annual general meeting of registered organizations within every 6 months gap.

The finance, accounts and audit provisions are provided under eighth chapter of the Act wherein, Section 21 deals with grant by the Central Government and Section 22 of the Act deals with National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Fund which is to be credited with moneys received from the Central Government and by way of grants, gifts, donations, etc. Similarly, the provision regarding preparation of budget and maintenance of accounts and audit contained under Section 23 and 24 of the Act and also other relevant provisions are also there relating to annual reports and others matters. The last Chapter contains miscellaneous provisions including the Central Government’s powers including power to issue directions, power to supersede Board, power to make rules and regulations. Moreover, it contains provisions as to exemption from income tax, immunity as to certain acts, delegation of power by Board to Chairperson or any member or officer of Trust.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan