Himachal High Court directs police to take wandering mentally ill under protection

Shimla: Coming to the aid of mentally ill persons, the Himachal High Court has directed police stations across the state to take into protection all such patients who have been abandoned by society and are found wandering homelessly in inhuman conditions.

Treating a representation by Subash Kumar, a resident of Shimla into a public interest litigation, Justice Surinder Singh on Thursday expressed anguish about “why appropriate action for protecting the interests of the mentally challenged persons wandering in inhuman conditions in the street has not been taken so far” despite orders having been passed on 3rd June, 2011 by the principal bench in the case headed by chief justice Kurian Joseph.

Earlier, in response to a query by the courts registrar (vigilance) SPs of Shimla, Mandi, Kulu and Chamba had informed the court that 14 mentally ill persons roaming astray and in inhuman conditions had been located.

Citing the provisions of Mental Health Act, 1987, the court directed SPs to ask police stations to detain mentally ill persons within their jurisdiction and produce them before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours as per section 23 of the Act.

For getting the order implement, the court also made the Director General Police (DGP) a respondent in the case and asked for compliance within two weeks before listing the matter for 25 July.

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  1. says: PradeepR

    The order is welcome but it is bit disturbing to know that it takes a High Court order to draw our attention to something which a responsible society, why just police, should be takiing care of on ther own without being asked.
    Contribution of literature and text books in building apathy and derison towards the mentally ill (does calling them mentally “challenged” makes their situation any different?) is no less – which usually warn us against the “mad” and the “paagal”. A mentally ill person, who has lost his sense of identity, occasion, and place is an unhinged soul which needs to be rescued from the slippery slope of hell, hunger, disease and death. Instead, our books portray them as something to beware of and who are best abandoned, laughed at or dealt with pelting stones. It is only sad that we live in a society where even dogs are better treated than the mentally ill.

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