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Mental Health In Armed Forces: PIL Before Supreme Court Seeks Directions For Mental Health Assessment In Central Armed Police Forces

Srishti Ojha
10 March 2022 2:27 PM GMT
Mental Health In Armed Forces: PIL Before Supreme Court Seeks Directions For Mental Health Assessment In Central Armed Police Forces
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In the backdrop of recent incidents of shootouts and suicides within various Central Armed Police Forces, a PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court of India seeking directions to all the CAPFs to periodically carry out specific mental health assessment of all personnel in the Forces to ensure their physical and mental fitness while on duty. The Petitioners who are retired members of...

In the backdrop of recent incidents of shootouts and suicides within various Central Armed Police Forces, a PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court of India seeking directions to all the CAPFs to periodically carry out specific mental health assessment of all personnel in the Forces to ensure their physical and mental fitness while on duty.

The Petitioners who are retired members of the Central Armed Police Forces( CAPFs) have sought directions for constitution of a non-uniformed cadre of trained and eligible psychological counsellors in CAPFs.

The writ petition has sought directions to all the Central Armed Police Forces to submit a detailed report of the steps taken to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 in the CAPFs.

Further directions are sought to Central Armed Police Forces to submit a detailed report of the facilities and the current procedures being followed to assess the mental fitness of the soldiers.

According to the petitioners, they have seen firsthand how the lack of a specifically calibrated approach to mental health parameters, coupled with the shame and fear of being termed as a mad person has led to the mindless loss of lives of their colleagues in the uniformed Forces due to suicide and fratricide in the past several years.

"Despite the well-meant legislations like the Mental Health Act 2017 and the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016, the spate of suicides and murders in the Armed Forces ought to shake the conscience of the Supreme Court to address the root cause of the issue." the petition has stated

The petition has submitted that the benefits of legislations do not percolate in letter and in spirit to the Armed Forces where physical health is of far more relevance than mental health which is still overlooked as a parameter to adjudge the health of a personnel holistically and is still stigmatized and brushed under the carpet.

The Petitioners have sought to highlight the fact that though the issue on the surface is that of unnatural deaths and suicides and fratricide, the reality is grim and runs much deeper than what is seen on the surface.

'It points to the fact that while utmost care and strict regimens are adopted to ensure that these soldiers and personnel are in top shape physically, their Mental Health is still not given its due concern,' the petitioners have argued.

The petition has been filed through Advocate Shilpa Liza George and Advocate Manoj V George. 

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