Showing posts with label Mentally Ill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mentally Ill. Show all posts

Monday, September 2, 2013

Madras HC seeks report on prisoners with mental disabilities

Express News Service - MADURAI  31st August 2013 

Admitting a public interest litigation seeking treatment for mentally affected prisoners, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) has sought a report from the Superintendent of Prisons in Tamil Nadu about the conditions of the convicts and trial prisoners suffering from mental disorders.

The Principal Bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice N Paul Vasantha Kumar has given two weeks time to the prison authorities to submit the report.

In his petition, N Muthukumar, deputy general secretary of Tamil Puligal, said he was arrested and confined a cell in Block No 1 in the Madurai Central Prison for participating in an agitation on June 13. During his stay in the jail, he noticed that prisoners lodged in Block 2 displayed some abnormalities. On enquiring with long-time inmates, he learnt that Block 2, was dubbed as ‘Maiyam’ (Centre) where prisoners of unsound mind were lodged.

There are 22 prisoners suffering from various psychological disorders and 13 convicts, who are insane, presently in the said block. Every day, prison authorities provide tablets to these inmates but no proper mental health treatment was given citing lack of infrastructure.

Only prisoners who were in advanced stage of mental illness were referred for treatment outside. Sometimes neurologists and psychiatrists visited them in their cells.

Petitioner’s counsel Alagumani contended that the Tamil Nadu Prison Rules, the Prisoner Act 1900 and the Mental Health Act 1987 clearly spell out how such prisoners must be treated. But this was violated grossly by the Madurai Prison authorities. In other prisons too similar conditions prevailed.

Hence he prayed for proper treatment for the mentally ill inmates.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Judges turn the tables on Husband seeking divorce on grounds of Mental illness of wife

Dear Colleagues,

Striking a gender equality note, the Supreme Court turned the tables and asked the husband whether it would have granted divorce to a woman from her husband, who on developing some mental disorder had become completely dependent on her, if she promised a huge sum as permanent alimony! Quite an interesting read and also indicates the increasing trend of more matrimonial cases reaching courts seeking divorce in name of mental ilnesses of the spouse... (read wives with unsound mind) ! 

SC strikes gender equality note in grant of divorce

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jul 2, 2013, 04.28 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Irretrievable breakdown of marriage, coupled with promise of large amount of money as permanent alimony, has been cited by rich and powerful men to seek divorce from their wives when all was not well in the marital relationship. 

Striking a gender equality note, the Supreme Court on Monday turned the tables and asked whether it would have granted divorce to a woman from her husband, who on developing some mental disorder had become completely dependent on her, if she promised a huge sum as permanent alimony. 

The case related to Darshan Gupta and Radhika Gupta, who married when they were barely out of their teens in 1997. Radhika's first pregnancy was terminated due to medical reasons. The second pregnancy was again a very complicated one and the child had to be delivered through Caesarian section. She remained unconscious for a long time and developed serious mental disorder. The child died eight days after birth. 

Though she was treated in reputed hospitals, she allegedly remained mentally ill. The husband claimed separation from her since 2002, breakdown of marriage and offered a large sum of money as permanent alimony to seek termination of marriage. 

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J S Khehar rejected the husband's plea and wondered whether a similar request by a woman would have been entertained by the apex court for grant of divorce from a husband who developed some mental disorder. 

"In the context of doing justice, it was suggested that the appellant (husband) would be ready and willing to pay the respondent (wife) whatever was considered appropriate by the Supreme Court. We are informed that the appellant is financially well to do," the bench said. 

"We would, in our endeavour to determine the issue in hand, examine the matter by reversing the roles of the parties. We will examine the matter as if the wife had approached the family court seeking divorce, on the ground that her husband had suffered brain damage leading to cognitive deficiencies. Yet, despite the said deficiencies, his working memory had returned to 'near normal' after treatment. And his mental condition was such that it would not have any effect on his matrimonial obligations," the bench added. 

"And the wife's family is agreeable to pay an amount to be determined by this court (just as the husband Darshan Gupta has offered), so as to enable their daughter to break away and find a more suitable match. Should she have been granted freedom from her matrimonial ties, in the given facts, in order to do complete justice to the parties? We would ask ourselves whether the husband would have accepted such a plea, in the facts denoted above," it further said. 

"In such a situation, if this court had, in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, granted compensation to the husband, and had dissolved his marriage on the pretext of doing complete justice between the parties, would the same be acceptable to the husband? We have no doubt in our mind that on a reversal of roles, the husband, without any fault of his own, would have never accepted as just the dissolution of his matrimonial ties, even if the couple had been separated for a duration, as is the case in hand," Justice Khehar, while authoring the judgment for the bench, said.

Source: Times of India

Thursday, October 13, 2011

No homes for mentally ill in Delhi despite Delhi High Court Order

Dear Friends,

The courts can only do only so much and can not take charge of welfare activities that Government is supposed to undertake. The Government also has to become pro-active and  take some responsibility. The experience so far has not been very encouraging with the Government. Its some spirited individuals and NGOs like Sudinalay who have been trying to reach out and manage some services for the mentally ill on behalf of the Government.

The undue suffering of persons merely because they can not voice their needs and demands is a slap on the face of the community and elected government. The news items below from Indian Express by Pritha Chatterjee highlights the sorry state of affairs on the human rights of persons living with mental illness with no family support that too despite clear cut directions to the  Delhi govt. by the High Court of Delhi.

Three years on, no homes for mentally ill

As many marked the World Mental Health Day, women treated for mental disorders at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) in Dilshad Garden, continued to be in a temporary home for the mentally ill.
Started by the government after a Delhi High Court order in 2009, the temporary home in Kabir Basti, Malkaganj, is run by an NGO Sudinalay.
Originally an amphitheatre, built by the MCD in 1988, the complex had remained unused for decades. In 2009, while reviewing the condition of mental healthcare services, the court had directed the Delhi government to set up a 20-bedded facility in the area, with immediate effect. However, after providing land, the government failed to provide any finances or arrange for the repairs of the structure.
With a densely populated basti in front, and forests on both sides, the structure has no proper entry or exit gates. Security issues were of great concern as repeated instances of break-ins were reported. Hence, it took another court order, for the police to provide a 24X7 protection to the home. At the rear of the structure is a garbage dump, infested with mosquitoes, and where people defecate in the open.

It has dilapidated doors and windows, which do not close properly, and has a narrow balcony with only two-feet-high grills. “This is nothing. Many of these women are violent, I am always worried about one of them attempting suicide,” a caretaker said.
Of the 25 women, two are paralysed below the waist, two are HIV positive, and one has spinal tuberculosis.
The court had also directed the Health and Social Welfare departments of the Delhi government to set up and run 18 such homes — within a year. Further, an expert committee appointed by the High Court — consisting of Dr Nimesh Desai, director of IHBAS, Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, who runs Sudinalay and Dr Anchal Bhagat, consultant psychiatrist at Apollo Hospital — were to submit quarterly reports on the development of the homes. However, three years since, no such homes have been set-up.
Defending her department, Social Welfare minister Dr Kiran Walia said though the Rs 60-crore project has been approved by the Finance department, the Cabinet approval is still awaited. “Procuring land from the DDA, getting clearances from the Finance department, and the architectural design approved by Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) took time,” said Walia.