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Vaccinate Mentally Ill People Institutionalized In Hospitals & Asylums : Supreme Court Directs Centre, States

Radhika Roy
6 July 2021 7:27 AM GMT
Vaccinate Mentally Ill People Institutionalized In Hospitals & Asylums : Supreme Court Directs Centre, States
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued directions to the Union Government to ensure vaccination takes place for mentally ill patients who have been institutionalized in hospitals and mental asylums. "Persons who have been institutionalized must be vaccinated to protect them from the onset of infection. ASG Madhavi Divan has stated that they will take it up with utmost priority and...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued directions to the Union Government to ensure vaccination takes place for mentally ill patients who have been institutionalized in hospitals and mental asylums.

"Persons who have been institutionalized must be vaccinated to protect them from the onset of infection. ASG Madhavi Divan has stated that they will take it up with utmost priority and chalk up a plan to vaccinate them", ordered the Court.

The direction was given by a Bench of Justices Chandrachud and MR Shah who were hearing a matter pertaining to directions being sought to rehabilitate thousands of mentally ill patients who had been languishing in hospitals and asylums.

Amicus Gaurav Kumar Bansal brought the attention of the Court to the fact that mental health institutions were not getting the patients vaccinated.

"I am regularly in touch with these institutions. They have not even gotten the patients vaccinated. I request you to take cognizance of these matter too. At least the government should vaccinate them. They are in mental hospitals and have not been vaccinated", submitted Bansal.

Justice Chandrachud also noted that on the issue of vaccination, the Government had to ensure that the same was done.

"They cannot travel or go to hospitals etc. So, you must ensure that they are vaccinated. Otherwise there will be a large amount of deaths in these establishments. We won't give a mandamus on this, but we will say it in a way that you will do it anyway", he said.

The Court further issued directions to the State of Maharashtra to discontinue the practice of shifting mentally ill patients from institutions to beggar homes or old age homes on the ground that it was counterproductive and contrary to Section 104 of the Mental Healthcare Act.

Further directions were rendered to States/Union Territories to extend their cooperation in the matter, and to ensure that, 1) discrepancies in the data furnished by them and available with the Task Force was resolved, and 2) status report on implementation of directions with regard to halfway homes was filed, before the meeting scheduled by Ministry of Social Justice on 12 July.

The matter will now be heard on 27 July.

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