Navy Sailor not Suffering from Mental Illness: Nimhans

Published: 09th December 2014 06:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2014 06:07 AM   |  A+A-

KOCHI: In a major setback to the Navy, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) on Monday submitted before the Kerala High Court that the sailor who was hospitalised for treatment of ‘mental disorder’, is not suffering from any psychiatric disease.

Sunil Kumar Sahu, a native of UP, is a sailor attached to INS Kattabomman at Thirunelveli, under the Eastern Naval Command. The Navy had shifted Sahu to its hospital INS Sanjeevani in Kochi for treating a mental disorder.

Refuting the Navy’s claims, the medical board constituted by the Nimhans stated that ‘no evidence of any current psychiatric illness could be determined on Sahu’, and deemed him fit to be discharged.

The court had earlier declined the Navy’s demand to shift Sahu to any of the 16 Defence Service hospitals in the country from INS Sanjeevani. However, he was shifted to the Nimhans considering the suggestion of Additional Director General of Prosecutions Tom Jose Padinjarekkara.

The medical board, comprising psychiatrists and neurologists, said that a detailed evaluation and assessment was conducted on Sahu.

He was admitted to the Nimhans on November 9, and has been under evaluation since then. The medical board collected information from Sahu, his wife and his mother. The evaluation and assessment included  studying the history of the circumstances that led to the current admission; details of the prior admission; the on-going serial mental state examination; behavioural observation in the ward; objective psychological testing; relevant blood investigation; electroencephalogram (EEG) and the MRI brain test conducted on Sahu.

The clinical assessment of his mental status was conducted by consultant psychiatrists. He also underwent a neurological evaluation for seizure disorders. The medical board, after taking into consideration the findings from the assessments and observations during the current stay at the Nimhans; and face-to-face assessment of Sahu, opined that he was not suffering from any mental illness.

“Sahu was granted 40 days’ leave, with effect from October 27, but he was taken to the Navy hospital,” the petitioner had submitted. The court had stated that Sahu had filed two complaints on October 13 and 20 against his superior officials. On October 21, his wife also filed a complaint before the Vijayanarayana police station, Thirunelveli.

“But it is strange enough to note that the state of higher anxiety and agitation was noticed in Sahu only on October 22,” the court observed in its earlier order.

The petitioner submitted that after filing the complaint, Sahu was asked to appear before the Commandant, and chargesheet was read against him. The court had made it clear that the navy could take action against the sailor based on the chargesheet. But, it wanted to examine whether he was having any mental ailment that warranted treatment.

A Division Bench comprising Justice V K Mohanan and Justice K Harilal posted the hearing of the case to December 11.

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