New Delhi. The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed “grave concern” over allegations of human rights violations, such as beheading of women living in mental health facilities, lack of privacy, and urging the state and the center to address such issues. Accept these issues with the regions immediately. The Supreme Court has directed all the states and union territories to ensure that all persons living in mental health facilities along with healthcare workers and others must be vaccinated against Covid-1 within a specified period of time.
A bench of Justice DY Chandrachur, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Hima Kohli noted that based on some research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS) in 2016 and the National Commission for Women in 2020, it was noted that Women in health facilities face many degrading situations and human rights violations.
The bench said that the issues raised in the petition are a matter of serious concern. It has been pointed out that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment can address all the concerns expressed in the study with the States / UTs.
The apex court directed that steps should be taken to ensure that the issues raised in the study are resolved by the state government and the union territories by taking necessary action. The bench took note of the submission submitted by Advocate Gaurab Bansal, who said in an application that three studies have highlighted that women living in state-run mental health institutions are facing many problems. The study was conducted by the NGO Human Rights Watch in 2014, Nimhans in 2016 and the National Commission for Women in 2020.
Bansal said the women faced problems such as lack of sanitary napkins, lack of privacy, shaving of heads, lack of issuance of identity cards (such as UIDAI, Aadhaar card), lack of disability certificate and disability pension. .
At the same time, the Supreme Court rejected the practice of designating states’ old age homes and other asylum institutions as rehabilitation homes for people recovering from mental illness, saying it would not serve the purpose of rehabilitation.
The bench said that states and union territories across the country should actively set up shelters for the rehabilitation of the recovered people and not meet the objective of determining the existing shelters for them alone. The apex court noted that Maharashtra had decided that 186 persons had been sent to beggars ’homes or other shelters in mental health care institutions for a long time. The bench said that Maharashtra had said that the rehearsal for setting up a rehabilitation house would be completed within six months. The bench directed the Maharashtra government to take steps to comply with the directive to set up rehabilitation houses within six months.
In the case of Uttar Pradesh, the bench said that the status report filed by the Center indicated that the state government had followed a pattern of old age homes for re-age as rehabilitation homes in each of the 75 districts. The bench said the mere naming of these shelters in all 75 districts would not serve the purpose.
The court said it would be appropriate for the center to monitor the progress and inform the court from time to time so that cases in each state do not need to be looked at separately to assess progress. The bench said the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment should meet every month to monitor the progress of rehabilitation homes and rehabilitation of people recovering from mental illness in accordance with past and present court orders.
The bench adjourned the hearing in the last week of December and asked the Center to submit a status report from the states with all the details and progress in setting up the rehabilitation home.
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