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Calcutta High Court Registers Suo Moto Case To Monitor Mentally Ill Prisoners In Terms Of Sheela Barse Case

Akshita Saxena
2 April 2021 9:01 AM GMT
Calcutta High Court Registers Suo Moto Case To Monitor Mentally Ill Prisoners In Terms Of Sheela Barse Case
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The Calcutta High Court has registered a suo moto case to monitor the mental health and other allied matters of various convicts and undertrial prisoners lodged in various correctional homes in West Bengal and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The case has been registered on the basis of administrative directions issued by Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan,...

The Calcutta High Court has registered a suo moto case to monitor the mental health and other allied matters of various convicts and undertrial prisoners lodged in various correctional homes in West Bengal and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The case has been registered on the basis of administrative directions issued by Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, in terms of the Supreme Court's directions in Sheela Barse v. Union of India & Ors., (1995) 5 SCC 654.

In this case, the Supreme Court was dealing with a letter petition highlighting the deplorable manner in which mentally ill women and children were kept in Presidency Jail at Calcutta.

After passing several directions in the case to ameliorate the situation, the Supreme Court had asked all the High Courts to monitor and ensure proper implementation of its orders in their respective States. The Chief Justice of each High Court was directed to designate a Judge for this purpose, who would be responsible to ensure the wellbeing of such detenus.

The High Courts were also granted liberty to pass such further orders as may be necessary to protect and improve the conditions of detention centres.

Recently, Chief Justice Radhakrishnan observed that no such matter was pending before the Calcutta High Court.

In view thereof, Justice Shampa Sarkar has been nominated to deal with the instant suo moto case.

The issues that will be primarily addressed in the case are as follows:

  • To judicially supervise, monitor and oversee the mentally ill convicts/undertrials at appropriate intervals who are locked up in various correctional homes in the State of West Bengal as also in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • To pass suitable, appropriate and necessary directions as may be necessitated in order to improve the wellness/wellbeing/conditions of such mentally ill convicts/undertrials.

In furtherance of the above, the following authorities have been impleaded:

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Union of India
  • Department of Health and Family Welfare, State of West Bengal
  • Legal Services Committee of the High Court
  • State Legal Services Authority, West Bengal
  • Registrar General, Calcutta High Court

The matter is fixed for hearing on April 16, 2021.

Case Title: In Re: Mental Health and Mental Health Care and allied matters concerning convicts/undertrials detained in various correctional homes in West Bengal and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in terms of Supreme Court directions

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