No Authorized Incapacity – The Hitavada

From Adv. RS Agrawal:

The complainant’s condition of enlarged cardiomyopathy is not a particular disability, nor is it due to the wide range of impairments that hinders his full and effective participation in society. Therefore, the Court has given its reasoned opinion that the applicant’s condition of augmented cardiomyopathy does not make his case fall within the scope of either the 1995 Law or the 2016 Law.

In the judgment of the Nawal Kishore Sharma v Union of India & Others case, which passed a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court consisting of judges, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, on February 10, 2021, that heart disease is not falls under the definition of “disability” in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 and the Court would hesitate to include words in its definition of “disability” that the legislature has not chosen. The Court also found that when the 1995 Law was replaced by the 2016 Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, “a person with disabilities” in Section 2 (S) as a person with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments that prevent his full and effective participation in society.

Section 2 (ZC) defines “specific disability” as stated in the annex to the 2016 Act. This schedule indicates “physical disability,” mental retardation, ”“ mental behavior. ”The complainant’s condition of advanced cardiomyopathy is not a specific disability, nor is it due to the wide range of impairments that indicate his full and effective participation Therefore, the Court has given its reasoned opinion that the applicant’s condition of enlarged cardiomyopathy does not make his case fall within the scope of either the 1995 Law or the 2016 Law.

The Supreme Court of Patna therefore rightly came to the conclusion that the condition of dilated cardiomyopathy would not bring the applicant any benefit under Section 47 of the Disability Act. In this case, the complainant challenged the judgment of the Supreme Court of Patna on March 26, 2019, in which the HC rejected the seaman’s application for compensation for obstruction in accordance with Article 21 of the National Maritime Board Agreement, thereby confirming the decision on October 7, 2011 by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), according to which the complainant’s case was not a case of accidental injury while on duty on the ship and therefore only severance pay is payable to the complainant. This is because the seaman is able to carry out other work and it does not interfere with his normal daily work. The complainant joined the foreign ship on September 18, 2009 and was dismissed on June 18, 2010 with the explanation that he was permanently unsuitable for sea traffic due to an enlarged cardiomyopathy. When examining the challenge of the SCI’s rejection decision, the HC took into account the literature cited by the complainant.

Although the judge recognized that a reduced blood pumping capacity of the heart could be one of the occupational diseases of the seafarer, he was of the opinion that compensation for a disability is only earned if a 100% incapacity for work is determined during the course of employment on the ship becomes. However, there is nothing here to show that the seaman was unsuitable for another job of a general nature. The HC interpreted both Clauses 21 and 25 and found that the complainant’s case did not fall into the category of Clause 21 as it did not hinder its conduct of normal day-to-day affairs. In other words, the seafaring work may not be feasible, but the person is able to perform other general occupation duties. The HC therefore found no basis to lift the SCI’s rejection of the right to disability benefits. One cent percent compensation is paid to a seaman in accordance with Section 5.9.F (ii) in a situation where a seaman is found medically unfit for sea service due to injury during his employment. However, it is not the case on both sides that the complainant suffered an accidental injury during his assignment on the seagoing vessel. The question then is whether the term “injury” should be construed as affecting the health of a seaman, as suggested by the applicant’s lawyer. Such a broad interpretation in relation to the specific term in the agreement would, in our view, defeat the intent of the agreement between the parties.

Merely because of the beneficial aim, the clear expression in the agreement must not be ignored in order to acquire a different meaning which could not have been the intention or understanding of the contracting parties. To ensure the coverage of Section 5.9.F (ii), the incapacity for work must relate to injuries sustained during employment. In this case, the complainant never claimed to have sustained any injury while serving on the ship. In addition, the impaired cardiac function cannot reasonably be traced back to his nine months of engagement. Under these circumstances, in the opinion of the Supervisory Committee, it would be inappropriate to link the complainant’s state of health as causal with his sea voyage engagement, even though the seaman started his engagement with a certificate of fitness. The Supervisory Committee found that in the present case no material was produced to correlate the complainant’s impaired cardiac function with the 9-month intervention in the ship. In the Court’s view, in the absence of a job-health link, the invalidity allowance is not deserved.

Clause 21 applies to a case of total disability, but this is not a case of 100% disability. In other words, advanced cardiomyopathy can prevent the man from doing a sea service, but it will not be an obstacle for him to do other work. With this interpretation, the HC has decided that the seaman only has to pay compensation in accordance with Article 25. In the opinion of the Supervisory Committee, it sees no reason for the complainant to reach a different conclusion on the effects of Clause 21 and Clause 25. While he is dealing with the complainant’s argument that his heart disease is to be understood as a disability within the meaning of the Disability Act and that he will receive follow-up benefits. Section 2 (I) of the Act takes into account visual impairment, mobility impairment, mental illness, intellectual disability, hearing impairment and leprosy. Heart disease does not fall under the definition of “disability” in the law. As a result, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the High Court’s judgment.

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