A guardian is a person who is appointed to look after another person or his property. He or she assumes the care and protection of the person and / or its property for which he/she is appointed as a guardian. The guardian takes all legal decisions on behalf of the person and his / her property of the ward. The occasion for taking care of another person may be his minority that is, a person who has not completed 18 years of age. It can also refer to guardianship of a person who because of physical and mental deficiencies is unable to take care of himself or his property.
From early times, the condition of minority has been the ground for appointment of guardians in all societies. This is due to the fact that a minor person is considered unfit to take decisions for himself, which can be binding on him as regards others. Therefore, a minor person is treated in law as incompetent to enter into contract with a person who is an adult. In all matters therefore, a minor has also been considered unfit to represent himself except through his guardian. A guardian takes decision on behalf of the minor for protecting the interests of the minor and his property.
Persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities are in a special situation as even after they have acquired 18 years of age, they may not always be capable of managing their own lives or taking legal decisions for their own betterment. Therefore, they may require someone to represent their interests in the legal areas throughout their lives. However, in cases of cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities, there may be a need for only limited guardianship because of the availability of enabling mechanisms and/ or scientific facilitations which enable such persons to function with varying degrees of independence.
Legal Guardianship under the National Trust Act
Under section 14 of the National Trust Act, the Local Level Committee headed by the District Collector is empowered to receive application in Form A under Rule 16(1) & appoint legal guardians in Form B under Rule 16(2) for persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities. It also provides mechanism for monitoring and protecting their interests including their properties.
So far 96 Legal Guardian ship enrollments were registered by Manochetana organization as a LLC as Organizational Member and registered member of National Trust Act-1999.