Place plea to recog. cancer cured as disabled before panel: HC
MUMBAI: Bombay high court has directed that a plea to recognize cancer cured persons as disabled be placed before an experts panel set up by the Centre to examine the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2012.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anil Menon heard a petition by cancer survivor Vinod Tambe stating that disabilities are also suffered by patients of cancer after recovery.
Tambe was diagnosed with blood cancer in 1977 and treated at the Tata Memorial Hospital. He was declared Cancer Cured Handicap by a March 16, 2005 certificate. A November 21, 1983 circular by the Director of Employment Exchange instructed all district employment officers to register cancer cured persons as handicapped persons. However, the State government adopted a stand that in view of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 the circular is superseded and that the definition of disabilities in the Act does not cover Tambe's case. Its affidavit stated that the definition of "disability" in the Amendment Bill, 2012 also does not cover the disability suffered by Tambe and hence he is not entitled to any relief.
At an earlier hearing , Tambe's advocate M S Karnik had argued that a person who has suffered from blood cancer even after getting cured does suffer from disabilities arising from weakness of the bones, joints or muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of the limbs and, hence, Tambe is suffering from locomotor disability which is recognized under the 1995 Act.
Karnik had also explained that there are various forms of disabilities which would be covered by the definition of "disability" under the Disabilities Act4 as well as Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012, but because of the narrow interpretation by the authorities on the definition, a large number of persons are deprived of the benefits which would otherwise be available to them.
On September 3, Karnik submitted a July 2, 2013 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which directed the Centre " to consider whether cancer, illness, and diseases which may medically qualify as disabilities in its generic sense and which adversely affect such persons on a day to day basis can qualify as a disability."
The bench said it is of the view that Tambe make a representation to the expert committee along with the copy of the order by September 30 and the latter shall consider the representation. It posted the next hearing on October 9.