HYDERABAD: A week after it came to light that 65 mentally-challenged patients had been kept naked in Behrampore district mental hospital in West Bengal for more than six months, the petitioner has said that the Supreme Court, while hearing his PIL on the release of treated persons from mental hospitals, on Monday asked him to file a proper application seeking the release of "normal" patients in all the mental hospitals of the country.
By "normal", the petitioner Advocate Gaurav Bansal means those patients who are now cured of mental illness.
Asked how the "normal" and the mentally ill will be identified, Bansal said the psychiatrists in the mental hospitals would do the job of distinguishing those patients who are now mentally-sound and those who are not.
The petitioner had in July filed a PIL seeking release of "normal" persons from mental hospitals. Initially, the Supreme Court issued notice on the matter only to Uttar Pradesh.
"There are over 150 mentally-sound patients languishing in Lumbini mental hospital in Kolkata and in mental hospital of Purulia in West Bengal," Bansal claimed.
"I showed the pictures of the mentally-challenged patients kept naked in the Behrampore mental hospital for more than six months, to the honourable bench on Monday and prayed the apex court for issuance of similar notices to all states of the country, including West Bengal. To this, the Supreme Court asked me to file a proper application that would include mental hospitals of all the states," said Bansal. "I would file the application within a couple of days," Bansal added.
"The next petition would be to give justice to the 150 normal patients of Lumbini and Purulia and bring to fore the issue of mistreatment of the mentally-challenged patients in Behrampore mental hospital," he added.
The issue of 65 persons with mental illness (25 in the female ward and 40 in male ward) in Behrampore mental hospital was brought to light by Kolkata-based mental health rights organisation Anjali. Activists took to Twitter and Facebook with the photographs of the nude patients and tweeted the same to the PMO, official handle of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda.