20 March 2023 4:07 PM GMT
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) presented before the Supreme Court of India a dashboard called "Manoashraya" today. The dashboard provided details of Rehabilitation homes (RH) and Halfway homes (HH) in India. The presentation was made in a petition seeking rehabilitation of thousands of mentally ill...
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) presented before the Supreme Court of India a dashboard called "Manoashraya" today. The dashboard provided details of Rehabilitation homes (RH) and Halfway homes (HH) in India. The presentation was made in a petition seeking rehabilitation of thousands of mentally ill patients who are languishing in hospitals or mental asylums.
Earlier, the Centre had informed the Court that an online dashboard where State Governments can feed in the information with respect to mental health facilities would be ready soon. Today, a presentation of the dashboard was given before a bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala.
The dashboard consisted of the following details–
1. The total number of States and UTs having government run RH/HHs;
2. Intake capacity of these RHs/HHs (bifurcated between male and female inmates);
3. Occupancy in the RHs/HHs;
4. Number of persons who are "languishing" in mental health institutions;
5. Specific details of RHs/HHs including contact details, location, facilities available etc.
Mr Rajesh Yadav, Joint Secretary in MSJE, while presenting the dashboard said–
"Anybody who wants to know about telephone number, location, or any other information, the same would be provided on the dashboard."
Additional Solicitor General Madhvi Divan informed the court that photographs uploaded on the dashboard were provided keeping in mind the privacy and security of the occupants of the rehabilitation Centres. She added that the dashboard would not only allow potential occupants to check the level of hygiene and facilities in the centre but also put the onus on states as the states would have to upload all information. She said–
"We are still tweaking it. We are yet to see how it is in practice. Eventually, because this is Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment who has taken over the onus on themselves, we hope that the Ministry of health will get into this. They have the 'Telemanas', which is much more comprehensive scheme as far as mental health institutions are concerned. Perhaps, in the long term this can be merged with that."
CJI DY Chandrachud, dictating the order, stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) specifically dealt with mental health institutions as a part of its broader remit to cover the area of medical health. Thus, he said –
"MoHFW has its own helpline called 'Telemanas'. There would be a need to integrate Telemanas with the dashboard Manoasharay prepared MSJE. Since the way forward would require proper collaboration between the MoHFW and the MSJE, we request Ms Madhavi Divan to take up the matter to the secretary level of both the ministries."
In the next date of hearing, the court stated that the way forward may be presented by the way of presentation by the joint secretaries of both the ministries. Adding a clarification to its order, the court stated–
"The present proceedings are not intended to be adversarial. The court is intending to use its position as a facilitator to ensure that the purpose of having rehabilitation homes and halfway homes is duly fulfilled, having regard to the large number of persons languishing in mental health institutions."
"We appreciate the presentation which has been made by the Joint Secretary in MSJE", the bench added in the order.
The court will next hear the matter after a month.
Previously, while hearing the petition, the Apex Court took into consideration the suggestion put forward by Ms. Divan, and directed all States and Union Territories to set up within 4 weeks an online dashboard containing information pertaining to the availability of mental healthcare institutions, facilities provided by such institutions, occupancy rates and region wise distribution of halfway homes in the States. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was directed to provide to the concerned States a format of such an online dashboard. The Court further directed that half-way homes must be established by all States as expeditiously as possible within a period of 6 months. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was also directed to conduct meetings at least once a month with all States and Union Territories to track the progress of establishment of halfway homes and rehabilitation of mentally ill patients.
Case Title: Case Title: Gaurav Kumar Bansal v. Mr. Dinesh Kumar And Ors. Contempt Petition (c) No.1653/2018 in WP(C) No.412/2016
Click here to read the order