Bill to amend the Autism Act passed by Parliament [Highlights]

The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was passed by both the houses in the Winter session of the Parliament, to further amend the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999.

The Bill was passed to streamline the appointment and resignation of members of a trust which helps persons with disability to live independently.

Highlights :

The 1999 Act sets up a National Trust to enable persons with disability to live independently by:

(i) promoting measures for their protection in case of death of their parents,

(ii) evolving procedures for appointment of their guardians and trustees, and

(iii) facilitating equal opportunities in society.

Salient features of the Amendment :

  • In Section 4 of the Principal Act of 1999 —

(a) in sub-section (1), the words “or until his successor shall have been duly appointed, whichever is longer” shall be omitted;
(b) after sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be inserted, i.e.,

(1A) The Central Government shall initiate the process for appointment of the Chairperson or Member, as the case may be, at least six months prior to the expiry of the term of office of such Chairperson or Member.”;

(c) in sub-section (3), the following proviso shall be inserted, i.e.,

“Provided that the Central Government may, in case of a casual vacancy in the office of the Chairperson, by order in writing, direct an officer of appropriate level, to perform the functions of the Chairperson until such vacancy is filled in.”.

  • In Section 5 of the principal Act, in sub-section (1), in the proviso, for the words “until the appointment of his successor is made by the Central Government”, the words “until his resignation is accepted by the Central Government” shall be substituted.
  • Under the Act, the Chairperson and members of the Board of the National Trust can hold office for a term of 3 years from the date of their appointment or until their successors are appointed, whichever is longer.  The Bill amends this provision to fix the tenure of the Chairperson and members of the Board to 3 years.

The Act states that if the Chairperson or members of the Board resign, they will continue in office until the appointment of their successor is made by the central government.  The Bill amends this to allow the Chairperson or members of the Board to hold office till their resignation is accepted by the central government.

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