Mar 31, 2023

Delhi HC Holds that Foreign Citizens Cannot be Appointed as Guardians under National Trust Act

The Delhi HC has held[1] that a foreign citizen cannot be appointed as a guardian under the National Trust Act, 1999[2] (‘Trust Act’).

Briefly, Section 14 of the Trust Act allows the parent / relative of a person with disabilities to make an application to be appointed as a guardian. Conditions for appointment of a guardian are contained in Rule 17 of the Rules[3] and Regulation 12 of the Regulations[4], both of which only contemplate citizens of India being appointed as guardians.

In this case, the petitioner and his son (an adult with disabilities) were both US citizens and OCI cardholders residing in India. The petitioner approached the Court seeking to be appointed as guardian to his son, claiming that since Section 14 did not impose a requirement of citizenship on guardians, Rule 17 and Regulation 12 were ultra vires the Act.

The Court held that since the Act contained no specific qualifications, the Rules and Regulations, as delegated legislations would enable the authorities to prescribe criteria for appointment of guardians. It was also held that the petitioner could not claim a constitutional right under Part III of the Constitution of India to be appointed as a guardian. Considering the circumstances, the Court directed that the petitioner may nominate an Indian citizen as the guardian and be jointly responsible for the care of the ward.

[1] Sunil Podar v. The National Trust For Welfare Of Person With Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation And Multiple Disabilities W.P.(C) 8359/2022 & C.M. Appl. 25173/2022

[2] National Trust For Welfare Of Person With Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation And Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999

[3] National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Rules, 2001

[4] Board of Trust Regulations, 2012




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