Bombay High Court Expresses Displeasure Over State Mental Health Authority's Inaction On Patient Rehabilitation

Bombay High Court Expresses Displeasure Over State Mental Health Authority's Inaction On Patient Rehabilitation

Despite HC directions, SMHA neither submitted any plan nor any affidavit regarding discharge/ rehabilitation of patients who are languishing in metal hospitals

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Sunday, October 22, 2023, 08:48 PM IST
article-image
Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: Expressing severe displeasure over the functioning of the State Mental Health Authority (SMHA), the Bombay High Court has remarked that its actions are “not commensurate with the gravity of the issue”.

The remark was made by a division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Manjusha Deshpande while hearing a petition filed by psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty, highlighting the plight of patients languishing in mental hospitals despite being cured or even when they are not seriously mentally ill.

Earlier, the HC was informed that of the 1022 patients lodged at various mental hospitals in the state, 475 were cured but were in the mental health establishments for more than ten years.

Emphasis on discharge/rehabilitation of patients

The HC has asked the authority to give emphasis to discharge/ rehabilitation of these patients. It had also asked authorities concerned to chalk out a comprehensive plan for the same.

Despite the directions, the authorities neither submitted any plan nor any affidavit.

“There is nothing concluded as yet. Even for a mere outline of the plan, the authority informs us that details would be provided on the next date. Therefore, as of today, the authority has no comprehensive plan,” the bench said, adding, “We wonder how the authority would take the cause further without any comprehensive plan to guide. Unfortunately, the actions of the Authority are not commensurate with the gravity of the issue.”

The judges said that SMHA, the Legal Services Authority, and the state government need to take four initiatives on a priority basis – Identification of the patients in the mental health establishments; rehabilitation of the patients fit to be discharged; rights of prisoners with mental illness and patients with other disabilities.

Court raises serious concerns

The court raised serious concern over the state’s apathy in discharging 475 patients who were fit for discharge. Of these, 379 patients were examined by two psychiatrists and were certified fit for discharge. However, the court was informed a Review Board will ultimately decide on their discharge.

“This is indeed serious,” it said and request the review board to take up their cases on a priority basis, “as any continuation of such patients in the mental health establishments with other patients may not be a healthy situation for them”.

The Mental Healthcare Act (2017) contemplates the creation of half-way homes, shelter accommodation, supported accommodation and hospital and community-based rehabilitation establishments. As of now there are 12 half-way homes. However, no data was submitted regarding shelter accommodations, support accommodations and hospital and community-based rehabilitation establishments.

The HC has called for the entire data regarding these establishments, without which “seamless rehabilitation” is not possible.

The Legal Services Authority said it will examine the scheme and inform the court.

SMHA also said that there were several patients suffering from other disabilities. The HC has directed that the Commissioner for Persons with Disability be involved in this initiative.

The HC has called for a further progress report on the next date of hearing on November 8.

RECENT STORIES

Door-Less Unhygienic Toilets, Paan Designed Sinks: Mankhurd Station Struggles For Basic Amenities...

Door-Less Unhygienic Toilets, Paan Designed Sinks: Mankhurd Station Struggles For Basic Amenities...

Mumbai: Court Convicts Trio For Knife-Point Robbery Inside CST-Bound Train, Issues Sentencing

Mumbai: Court Convicts Trio For Knife-Point Robbery Inside CST-Bound Train, Issues Sentencing

Mumbai: Individuals Get Stranded In Drainage System During Sewer Cleaning Operation In Malad; 2...

Mumbai: Individuals Get Stranded In Drainage System During Sewer Cleaning Operation In Malad; 2...

Mumbai: BMC Collected ₹373 Crore Property Tax From Big Defaulters In Past 23 Days

Mumbai: BMC Collected ₹373 Crore Property Tax From Big Defaulters In Past 23 Days

Mumbai: Dadar Metro Station Work To Begin, Traffic Diversions To Be In Effect From April 25; Check...

Mumbai: Dadar Metro Station Work To Begin, Traffic Diversions To Be In Effect From April 25; Check...