Can a Disabled person file a suit? Complete Guide.


Author: Livya P. Lalu from Delhi Metropolitan Education, Noida.

India has somewhere in the range of 40 to 80 million people with a disability. Be that as it may, low education, few occupations and across the board social disgrace are making crippled individuals among the most barred in India. Youngsters with disabilities are more averse to be in school, handicapped grown-ups are bound to be jobless, and families with a crippled part are regularly more awful off than normal. With better instruction and more access to employment, individuals with handicaps can turn into an indispensable piece of society, just as assistance creates higher monetary development that will profit the nation in general. 

According to the Disabled Persons Act, a disabled person is, “a person with a physical, mental or sensory disability, including a visual, hearing or speech functional disability which gives rise to physical, cultural or social barriers inhibiting him or her from participating at an equal level with other members of society in activities, undertakings or fields of employment that are open to other members of society.” The Act makes arrangements for the welfare of disabled people too for the arrangement and elements of a Director for Disabled people’s undertakings. It accommodated the foundation of a National Disability Board. The Disabled Persons Act came into existence in 1992.

Rules Pertaining To Legal Disability In Civil Procedure Code, 1908:

There are some provisions pertaining to legal disability in the Civil Procedure Code of 1908. Some of these sections are-

  1. Suits for disabled: Section 147 of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “Consent or agreement by persons under disability.” In all suits to which any person under disability is a party, any consent or agreement, as to any proceeding shall, if given or made with the express leave of the Court by the next friend or guardian for the suit, have the same force and effect as if such person, was under no disability and had given such consent or made such agreement.
  2. Specific charge: Under order 8 rule 5(1) of the CPC, it has been said that if a specific charge has not been denied specifically or not admitted by a defendant then it would be admitted specifically except against those persons suffering from legal disabilities.
  3. Death of a disabled person: Section 6 (3) of limitation act of 1963 empowers legal representatives to file a suit after the death of a person suffering from legal disability, this provision is supported by order 22 rule 3 (1) of the CPC that makes legal representatives of a deceased plaintiff party to a suit.
  4. Appointing administer General: Under rule 4A of order 22, the court can appoint an administer General or an officer of the court as it thinks fit to represent the estate of the deceased person, in case there are no legal representatives left.
  5. Suits filed by minor: Under rule 1 (1) of order 23 of the CPC, a suit where the plaintiff is a minor or any other person to who rules 1 to 14 of order 31 extend, then a suit can be withdrawn only after the court has been satisfied as explained in rule 3 of order 23 on the grounds of formal defect or existence of grounds to file a fresh suit. In the case of Joannala Sura Reddy v. Tiyyagura Srinivasa it was said that no fresh suit can be filed if the previous suit has not been withdrawn after taking the court’s consent under rules1and 3 of order 23.
  6. Suits filed by minor attaining majority: Under rule 12 of Order 32 of CPC, which deals with suits filed by minors on them attaining majority, it was said in the case of Vidya Wat v. Hans Raj, that under the specific provision mentioned above no dismissal of the suit is needed in case minor has decided not to pursue the matter after attaining majority.

Section 6 in The Limitation Act, 1963:

Legal disability:

  1. Where a person entitled to institute a suit or make an application for the execution of a decree is, at the time from which the prescribed period is to be reckoned, a minor or insane, or an idiot, he may institute the suit or make the application within the same period after the disability has ceased, as would otherwise have been allowed from the time specified therefor in the third column of the Schedule.
  2. Where such person is, at the time from which the prescribed period is to be reckoned, affected by two such disabilities, or where, before his disability has ceased, he is affected by another disability, he may institute the suit or make the application within the same period after both disabilities have ceased, as would otherwise have been allowed from the time so specified.
  3. Where the disability continues up to the death of that person, his legal representative may institute the suit or make the application within the same period after the death, as would otherwise have been allowed from the time so specified.
  4. Where the legal representative referred to in sub-section (3) is, at the date of the death of the person whom he represents, affected by any such disability, the rules contained in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall apply.
  5. Where a person under disability dies after the disability ceases but within the period allowed to him under this section, his legal representative may institute the suit or make the application within the same period after the death, as would otherwise have been available to that person had he not died.

Kinds Of Legal Disability:

There are three kinds of lawful disabilities that have been portrayed in the Limitation Act, 1963. These incorporate:

  1. Minor 
  2. Insane 
  3. Idiot

The first of these categories for lawful disability, “minor” has to do with an individual’s age. Under Section 3 (1) of The Indian Majority Act of 1875 , an individual turns into a major when he/she completes eighteen years. This calculation of age is to be done subsequent to considering the accompanying two stipulations talked about in section 3 (2):

  1. The day on which the said individual is born is to be included as a whole day.
  2. He/she is thus said to have become a major as and when the eighteenth anniversary of that day commences.

The Majority Act of 1875 can be named as a “secular” law as it applies to all people declaring any religion in India. If a specific individual law states generally, at exactly that point can the time of majority part be considered as something different other than 18 years? The Majority Act however considers certain circumstances where in a concerned court or a court of wards took superintendence over the life and property of a minor and therefore for his/her welfare designated any guardian before such an individual accomplished the age of 18, in such cases it is to be seen that the time of minority at that point stretches out till the age of 21 for the individual in question.

The second standard for applying the bar of legitimate disability is that of insane. This idea is clarified in detail in the case of S.K.Yadav V State of Maharashtra that was held in the Supreme Court. For this situation, the court managed the idea of insane in our legitimate framework at incredible length. It stated that courts only recognized legal insanity and not medical insanity and that there were differences from the two. Even if insanity has been previously proved medically or in a lower court of law, it has to be proved in the higher court. Furthermore, it is to be noticed that no such specific tests lie to prove legal insanity. Behaviors, antecedent, attendant and subsequent to the event, are to be taken into account while considering if a said person is to be termed insane or not.

 In the case of Hari Singh Gond V State of Madhya Pradesh, it was said that there were four subtypes of non-compos mentis i.e., (1) an idiot; (2) one made non-compos by illness (3) a lunatic or a mad man and (4.) one who is drunk. Idiocy included the following characteristics which included-(a) non-sane memory from birth by a perpetual infirmity, without lucid intervals (b) idiots are unable to count twenty(c) tell the days of the week(d) who do not know their fathers or mothers, or the like.

Filing of suit in Legal Disability:

A major part of rules pertaining to legal disability is enshrined in its parent act, which is that of Limitation Act is in sections 6, 7 and 9 that describe with a great deal of detail the different aspects of technical acumen. Section 3 of the Limitation Act is a very important section. It deals with the different time periods that are to be allowed to parties to file cases, beyond which the concept of limitation debars parties from filing any suits. However, it is to be noticed that this section also provides for some exceptions- in cases of extraordinary situations that lie in sections 4-24 of the Limitation Act. Minority, idiocy, and insanity are the different grounds under sections 6 and 7 of the act that allows parties to file suits after the time period when the disability is over. The disability has to compulsorily exist at the time from which a period of limitation is supposed to begin. After such a time period has already begun, no subsequent disability can lead to resetting of this clock as per section 9 of the Limitation Act. A per section 6 (2), if a person is suffering from multiple disabilities i.e. at least two or if such a person has got rid of one form of disability and is suffering from a new one, then in such situations he/she can only file a suit after these multiple disabilities or the newer disability has ceased to exist. Section 8 makes it amply clear that the concept of pre-emptive action does not exist in this case and that the time period for limitation is three years after the death of such a person or the ceasing of his disability.

Thus, after analyzing the various aspects of the mechanism of legal disability: its definitions, its components, the various important case-laws, etc, I conclude that this mechanism in the Limitation act has far-reaching ramifications that can systematically extend over a long period of time. This law is primarily meant for usage by legally discredited individuals and their legal representatives to rightfully claim within a reasonable time period what is rightfully theirs.