Unfortunate permanent State Mental Health Authority not constituted, says Delhi HC
The court was dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Amit Sahni, who sought effective implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act
The Delhi High Court has shown disappointment over the non-constitution of the permanent State Mental Health Authority under the Mental Health Act, 2017, and directing the Delhi Health Secretary to appear before it on the next date of hearing on September 15.
The court was dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Amit Sahni, who sought effective implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act.
Sahni's contention is that the absence of functional mental health authorities has a detrimental impact on the treatment and care of individuals suffering from mental illnesses.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula asked for Delhi government's compliance with Sections 45 and 46 of the Mental Health Act, 2017, and the Mental Healthcare (State Mental Health Authority) Rules, 2018.
It further directed constituting district mental health authorities in line with the statutory provisions.
The court said that despite the assurance given by the Delhi government's counsel in November, 2022, regarding the reconstitution of the State Mental Health Authority, no progress has been made in this regard. "It is unfortunate that till date the permanent State Mental Health Authority under the aforementioned statute has not been constituted. Therefore, this Court is left with no option, but to direct that the Secretary (Health), GNCTD, remain present in Court on the next date of hearing," the court observed.
In this matter, another individual has moved a plea alongside the PIL, also demanding the reconstitution of the State Mental Health Authority and the establishment of Mental Health Review Boards, as mandated by the new law. The court clarified that in case the Authority is constituted, the personal appearance of the Secretary shall be dispensed with.
Published: 09 Aug 2023, 2:45 PM