Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Jharkhand High Court Directs State To Constitute Review Boards Within Six Weeks & Appoint Non Official Members To State Mental Health Authority

Shrutika Pandey
5 Sep 2021 9:26 AM GMT
Jharkhand High Court Directs State To Constitute Review Boards Within Six Weeks & Appoint Non Official Members To State Mental Health Authority
x

The Jharkhand High Court has directed the state to constitute the Mental Health Review Boards (MHRB) under Section 46 and 73 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 within six weeks. While disposing off the matter, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prakash also directed the government to appoint non-official members to the State Mental Health...

The Jharkhand High Court has directed the state to constitute the Mental Health Review Boards (MHRB) under Section 46 and 73 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 within six weeks. While disposing off the matter, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prakash also directed the government to appoint non-official members to the State Mental Health Authority.

The PIL application, filed by two law students of National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi) sought directions for the constitution of the State Mental Health Authority (SMHA) and Mental Health Review Boards (MHRB) as provided under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

The MH Act, 2017 mandates the constitution of the SMHA within nine months of the enactment of the statute. However, the petitioner's case has not been complied with even after three years as the position of the non-official members remain vacant due to non-appointment.

Sankalp Udgata, appearing party-in-person, submitted before the Court that without the constitution of these mandatory bodies, persons with mental illnesses are being denied their rights, including the appointment of the representative, guaranteed to them under the MH Act.

The MH Act, 2017 also empowers the State Authority and the Review Boards to act as remedial forums to infringe upon any right conferred under the statute. They are also empowered to regulate the mental health establishments operating within the state.

The petitioners argue that in the absence of these bodies, the beneficiaries of the legislation are left to remedy less, and the mental health services within the state remain unregulated.

The petition also refers to responses obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Application claiming to have constituted the State Mental Health Authority Act with no non-official members, which is mandatory to fulfil the composition of the said Authority. However, challenging the interpretation relied upon while furnishing the reply, it is the petitioner's case that without the appointment of non-official members, it cannot be said that the State Authority has been duly constituted.

The State-respondent filed counter affidavit responded that the appointment of ex-officio members for non-official members had been notified by Section 46(1) of the MH Act, 2017. Moreover, the constitution of eight mental health review boards for various areas within the state, as per Section 73 of the MH Act, 2017, is under the process of notification.

It also informed the Court that the Department of Health, Government of Jharkhand runs several establishments, psychiatric units in medical colleges, etc., for the welfare of persons with mental illness. It informed that at the tertiary care center, Ranchi Institute of Neuropsychiatry and Allied Sciences (RINPAS) has: (i) eight psychiatrists; (ii) three psychologists; (iii) eleven Psychiatric Social Workers; (iv) one dentist; (v) one ophthalmologist; (vi) one pathologists; and (vii) one physiotherapists providing various services.

The state also submitted that RINPAS is running two halfway homes for restoring the patient's lost functions due to mental illness where they are trained in new skills.

Title: Ritika Goyal & Anr v. State of Jharkhand & Anr.

Next Story