Inmates Live Like Animals, Madurai HC Told

Panel informs court that patients in home run by Akshaya Trust in Madurai wrongfully declared mentally-ill

Published: 24th June 2014 07:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2014 07:50 AM   |  A+A-


MADURAI: In a shocking revelation, the two-member panel appointed by the Madurai High Court Bench to examine the conditions prevailing at the destitute home maintained by Akshaya Trust has stated that the right to life and livehood of all inmates have been violated with impunity and that they were confined to the home like animals.

In pursuance to the court direction, advocate commissioner D Geetha and psychologist Rani Chakkaravarthi submitted their report before a Bench, comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and V M Velumani, after inspecting the home on June 20. In the report, Geetha stated that the home did  not have permission either to declare the inmates mentally ill nor detain them under the Mental Health Act 1987. She submitted that though 537 had been accommodated, its managing trustee Krishnan had stated that only 91 were mentally ill.

The report also stated that the mental health of normal inmates too was deteriorating as they were being kept in a state of isolation and forced to stay along with mentally ill patients. The panel also found out that the inmates who had not been diagnosed with illness were being forced to consume medicines. The panel also submitted that no professional staff had been engaged to provide medical treatment and the staff working there did not have any knowledge about mental illness.

The report further said that in March 2014 there were 18 deaths at  the home, of which eight were below 48.  Further, in June, till the date of inspection, a total of six persons had died. So far, all deaths had been certified as cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest and no post-mortem had been done. Relatives had also not been informed about the death of inmates’  and no FIR was registered. Rani Chakravarthy, the psychologist, in her observation, stated that there was no inmate with severe mental illness or retardation. They were able to give clear information about their family, living, occupation, present condition and their house address.

Shocked by the report, Justice Ramasubramanian directed the panel to carry out another inspection at the home to ascertain the reasons for which the 91 had been declared mentally ill.  The judge also asked them to find out if any records had been maintained on them.

The judges also directed the panel to provide the names of the inmates who were detained against their wishes and adjourned the case to June 26.

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