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Submit date of cured people in mental asylums says SC

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, May 12: The Supreme Court on Friday asked chief secretaries of four states and administrators of two union territories to provide in four weeks the data of people who have recovered from mental illness and are fit to go home, but languishing in hospitals.

The top court said the data should be provided to the Centre to enable it to prepare a roadmap for setting up rehabilitation homes for such people.

Submit date of cured people in mental asylums says SC

A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta has asked the chief secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland and Telangana to furnish all the relevant details to the ministry of social justice and empowerment for formulation of a proper roadmap.

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It also asked administrators of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to furnish the details in four weeks to the Centre.

Petitioner advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal informed the court that there was non-compliance of its last order and some states have not provided the necessary data to the Centre.

The counsel appearing for the Centre also submitted that four states and two Union Territories have not yet submitted the requisite details.

The bench said that if the chief secretaries and administrators fail to comply with the direction to furnish the data in four weeks then it may be constrained to ask them to appear in person before it.

The court had on February 25 directed chief secretaries of all the states and union territories to hold a meeting in four weeks with the Union health secretary to chalk out a roadmap for setting up rehabilitation homes for people who have recovered from mental illness and were fit to go home but are languishing in hospitals.

It had directed the Union ministry of health and family welfare to appoint a nodal officer to conduct the meeting.

It had said that the data provided by the states must include a roadmap regarding setting up of rehabilitation homes and based on it the Union ministry will prepare a report to be submitted in the court.

Bansal in his plea has said that around 10,000 people, who are fit to be discharged, are forced to live in different mental hospitals and institutes due to social stigma.

On October 3 last year, the court had sought reports from all the states and union territories on the status of setting up rehabilitation homes for people with mental illness.

Bansal had earlier said that except for few, many states and UTs have not complied with the order of July 10, 2017, in which they were asked to implement the guidelines prepared by the Centre within one year period.

States and UTs which have filed their response include Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Punjab, Nagaland, West Bengal, Telangana, Tripura, Delhi, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The court had taken on record the guidelines for the state governments for setting up rehabilitation homes for persons living with mental illness framed by the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities of the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment.

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The court had asked the Union ministry to circulate the guidelines to all the state governments and UTs with a direction to implement them within one year.

It had also directed the state governments to comply with the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Earlier, the court had favoured framing of a uniform national policy to deal with those suffering from mental illness and their release from hospitals after being cured.

It had said that the issue concerned figured in the concurrent list of the Constitution and hence the Centre also has the authority to frame norms.

The PIL filed by Bansal has raised the issue of release of about 300 people from various mental hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, alleging they were still languishing there despite being cured of their ailments and most of them belonged to poorer sections.

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