Delhi High Court has granted a week's time to both the Central as well as the Delhi Government to decide as to whether the testing facilities for COVID19 can be extended to homeless mentally ill persons without demanding identity proof.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan has asked both the governments to consider setting up a camp for conducting tests for such persons.
The order has come in a plea seeking adequate testing and other facilities for homeless persons who are suffering from various forms of mental illnesses.
While giving more time to the government counsel for seeking instruction on the issue, the court said:
'How can you expect a homeless person to prove residence or identity proof? You have set up testing camps for many groups, including the influential ones; why can't the same be set up for mentally ill homeless persons?'
Filed by Mr Gaurav Bansal, the petition sought court's directions to the Delhi Government to ensure adequate testing for homeless and mentally ill persons for COVID19.
The Petitioner argued that it is the responsibility of the government under both the Mental Healthcare Act as well as the Persons with Disabilities Act to ensure that needs of the persons suffering from mental illness are included in the Disaster Management Strategy.
'The government has to ensure that the specific needs of the mentally ill and homeless persons are addressed by the state while formulating policies for COVID19', the Petitioner argued.
It is submitted by the Petitioner that despite the directions issued by this court on June 09, no policy has been formulated by the Respondents to address the grievances raised by the Petitioner.
It is further argued by the Petitioner that homeless persons with mental illnesses are part of the vulnerable section of the society, hence, they require special protection of the state.
Emphasising upon the need to address the issue, the Petitioner argues that the lack of policy on the grievances raised in the petition is also causing inconvenience to the government run mental health establishments as they are confused about that sort of health services to be provided to such individuals.
The court will next take up this matter on July 31.