Legal Capacity and Supported Decision Making: Consultations on the Amendment of the National Trust Act

Four regional consultations are being organised to consult on what changes are needed in the National Trust Act to make the law in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The schedule for the consultations is like this:

  • 2 August, Bangalore

  • 23 August, Guwahati

  • October (to be confirmed), Chandigarh

  • November (to be confirmed), Goa

The consultations will discuss a paper drafted by Amita Dhanda and myself (On the picture we are having the first discussions on the consultation while on a retreat to the Ramoji Film City). Then, based on the submitted comments and conclusions of the regional consultations a draft amendement proposal will be adopted.

The questions around which the consultation paper is organised are:

  • How should the NTA be amended to incorporate the CRPD model of universal legal capacity?
  • Should the model be only extended to the named disabilities (mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism and multiple disabilities)?
  • Or should the NTA be amended to make this model available to all disabilities?
  • What other amendments should be introduced in the NTA to bring the statute in conformity with the CRPD?

The consultation paper recommends:

  • The NTA should introduce an express provision recognizing Universal Legal Capacity and the provision should state that all persons with disabilities have full legal capacity.

  • This legal capacity is in no way diminished if a person with disabilities sets up a support network to assist him in the exercise of this legal capacity.

  • The National Trust shall accord recognition to support networks and offer assistance to persons with disabilities in setting up such networks.

  • The definition of disability should be altered in the NTA and the present restrictive model should be replaced with a universal model. This could be done by adopting the definition of disability incorporated in the CRPD.

  • The National Trust shall devise all approved programmes in active consultation with persons with disabilities and their organizations.

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