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Karnataka HC Issues Notice On Plea Against Closure Of OP Department Of Bangalore NIMHANS

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 July 2020 11:14 AM GMT
Karnataka HC Issues Notice On Plea Against Closure Of OP Department Of Bangalore NIMHANS
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The High Court of Karnataka has issued notice on a PIL filed against closure of OP Department of premier mental health institution, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (Nimhans), Bengaluru.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Adbhay Srinivas Oka and Justice Nataraja Rangaswamy has issued notice returnable by July 15.

The plea has been filed by Advocate Jay Datt Bhatt stating that the Orders issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for ensuring social distancing clearly state that Hospital & all related Medical establishments will remain functional. However, closure of OPD in Nimhans for 2 months has defeated the object of enactment of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

The Petitioner is also aggrieved by exclusion of Mental Health Professionals from the practice of 'Telemedicine'.

"Telemedicine Practice Guidelines were issued by MOH&FW, Govt. of India Enabling Registered Medical Practitioners to Provide Healthcare Using Telemedicine "Psychiatrist", but surprisingly the Mental Health Professionals namely Clinical Psychologist, mental health nurses and psychiatric social workers were excluded from the telemedicine Guidelines," the plea states.

It is contended that such action has violated the Rights of Persons with Mental Illness particularly their Right to access mental healthcare, mental health services of affordable cost, of good quality, available in sufficient quantity, accessible geographically, without discrimination.

Inter alia the plea states that closure of OPDs for mentally ill persons violates their right to be treated as "equal" to person with physical illness. "NDMA & SDMA has duty to ensure inclusion of person with disabilities in its disaster management activities," the Petitioner added.

On the basis of these grounds the Petitioner has sought the following reliefs:

  • In Telemedicine Practice Guidelines issued by MOH&FW, Govt. of India Enabling Registered Medical Practitioners to Provide Healthcare Using Telemedicine, include and enable Mental Health Professionals to provide psychotherapies, Counselling and Rehabilitation services.
  • Direct Respondent Institute to ensure Rights of Persons with Mental Illness to access mental healthcare and treatment of affordable cost, of good quality, is not denied. Provides for essential drug list and ensure its availability in the Institute under Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
  • Direct the Mental Health Establishment to stop Discrimination with Person with disability under falling under Rights of Person with Disability Act, 2016.
  • Direct NDMA & SDMA to ensure inclusion of person with disabilities in its disaster management activities and State Legal Services Authority and National Legal services Authority constituted under Legal Services Authority Act,1987 for ensuring access to Justice.
  • Direct the Respondents to follow The Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1981 and further prohibit lock-outs in public interest.
  • Direct the 1st respondent to look into all aspect of impact of COVID 19 in Mental Health of the Person seeking Treatment for Mental Illness and take stock of Mental Health status of Prisoners in state of Karnataka by constituting Multi Disciplinary Team of Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatric Social Worker and Psychiatrist by doing Mental Health Status Examination through Video Conferencing.

In the interim, the Petitioner has sought forthwith resumption of OPDs and a direction upon the Central Mental Health Authority to inquire into the incident and take corrective steps.



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