New Delhi, Jul 06 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today directed the Maharashtra government to get all mentally ill patients in mental hospital vaccinated and directed them to discontinue the practice of shifting all mentally ill patients from institutions to Beggar homes and custodial homes on the grounds that they are counter productive to section 104 of Mental Healthcare Act.
A bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah today observed that mentally ill patients in mental hospitals and asylums are not getting vaccinated and directed the state government that as they cannot travel or go to hospital so they should be vaccinated in the premises itself.
The Bench observed that if these patients are not vaccinated, there will be large number of deaths in these establishments.
Earlier, the Centre and the States were directed to comply with the 2017 order after a PIL was filed in 2016 by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, to set up rehabilitation homes for persons living with mental illness (who have been cured, or who do not need further hospitalization, or who are homeless or are not accepted by their families).
In 2017, the matter was listed before the bench of the then CJI Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Chandrachud wherein the bench observed that the Union of India represented through the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, had filed an affidavit pertaining guidelines for the State Governments for setting up rehabilitation homes for persons living with mental illness. The ministry was requested to circulate the same to the relevant departments of all the State Governments and Union Territories, with a direction to implement the same at the earliest, but as far as possible within one year from the order date.
It was further directed that the State Governments and the concerned Union Territories shall file status reports to this Court immediately on the expiration of one year, but most definitely before August 1, 2018. The matter was then disposed of; however, a contempt petition was filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal challenging the non-compliance by the Centre.
The matter was listed last year but was not taken up due to the pandemic. Now, the matter was listed for today, and ASG Madhvi Diwan stated that due to Covid no progress was made so, the Centre was unable to comply with earlier directions of the court. She submitted that a letter was issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to convene a meeting on the coming 12th of July and therefore requested 3-4 days for presenting a fresh status report after the date of the meeting. The bench observed that there were certain discrepancies between the Task Force Report and the data which has been submitted by the States/Union Territories.
The Bench directed the State/Union Territories to extend their cooperation in the matter and to ensure that the discrepancies between the Task Force Report and the data which has been submitted by the States/Union Territories be resolved and a status report be filed on implementation of directions with regard to halfway homes./ILNS/SNG