Supreme Court: Heart ailment is not included as a disability

The Supreme Court stated that a heart ailment cannot be included as a disability under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.

The petitioner was a sailor, who suffered from a heart ailment known as dilated cardiomyopathy which is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened and enlarged. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

The petitioner stated that his disease was a disability under Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and consequential benefits should be accorded to him.

He claimed for a disability compensation, which was rejected by the Patna High Court.

The case of Nawal Kishore Sharma v. Union of India, is an appeal against the decision of the Patna High Court.

A three- judge Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice S.K. Kaul, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy heard the appeal case.

The Supreme Court held that the Section 2(i) of the Act, takes into account visual disability, locomotor disability, mental illness, mental retardation, hearing impairment and leprosy. A heart ailment is not covered within the definition of disability in the Act.

It was further stated that Disability Act of 1995 which is replaced by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 also does not cover heart ailment as a disability.

The Court also stated that dilated cardiomyopathy condition of the appellant is neither a specified disability nor is the same relatable to the broad spectrum of impairments, which hinders his full and effective participation in society.
The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal and upheld the judgement of the High Court.

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