The Kerala High Court has directed the Mental Health Centres of the state to ensure that none of the patients, even those showing acute suicidal tendencies, when placed in seclusion, shall be so placed nude, unless very acute situation warrants the same.
Justice Vinod Chandran, on an Interim Application filed by Human Rights NGO, also directed that clothes shall be provided of suitable material to the patients, which would make it impossible for the patients to use it to snuff out their own life.
The petitioner had approached the High court highlighting two instances wherein the inmates of MHCs were placed nude in isolated chambers. The court said it cannot blame the doctors for this as they did it to prevent any mischief from the part of patients, since they had high suicidal tendencies.
The court however said it is concerned about the measure of inmates of Medical Health Centres in the state being kept nude in isolation, even given the lofty intention of preserving life; which has to be sustained with at least the minimum dignity possible.
Any man or woman, more so the latter, brought up in the present society would not like his private parts to be exposed to any other, without consent and this would be acute in case of individuals with heightened unstable thoughts whose helplessness in such states would only drive them to further desperation and depression, Justice Vinod Chandran said.
The court added that confinement in cells that too nude, would only result in the inner torments assuming an ominous form driving them to sure death at their own hands; if not when in confinement, when released therefrom.
Directing that no patients shall be kept nude in isolation, unless acute situation warrants the same, the court said A committee of doctors, superintendent and psychiatrists should approve if a patient warrants such a treatment, and in that case it shall be ensure that the patient is not exposed to anyone of the opposite sex, not even from amongst the staff of MHCs.
Read the order here.