'Mental health of people least priority to state': HC raps Nitish government

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar, expressed shock over the absence of such an authority in the state.

Published: 14th February 2022 07:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2022 07:07 AM   |  A+A-

Anxiety, Mental health, Suicide

Image used for representational purpose only.

By PTI

PATNA: The Patna High Court has said it appears that mental health of people and their treatment are the "least priority" of the Bihar government, and directed the chief secretary to take all steps to ensure establishment of State Mental Health Authority.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar, expressed shock over the absence of such an authority in the state.

"It appears that mental health of a person and treatment of those who are in need, more so during the time of Covid-19, is the least priority of the state government," the bench said.

It heard a public interest litigation, filed by Akanksha Maviya, which sought direction from the court to the state government to establish a legitimate and functional mental health authority with adherence to the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 and start a helpline and counselling facilities.

The government had earlier submitted an affidavit on the issue as sought by the bench.

The Act deals with establishment and composition of the state authority for people with mental illness.

The purpose of the law is to provide healthcare services to them and to protect, promote and fulfil their rights.

The bench noticed that a "step for establishing the authority commenced only in 2020, that too, with the publication of an advertisement in the newspaper and since then nothing has been done to expedite the process".

It also observed that even the affidavit did not disclose the time limit within which the process of setting up the mental health authority would be completed.

"Shockingly, as is now evident from the affidavit filed by the state, the said authority has yet not been constituted. We are constrained to direct the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar, to forthwith take all steps ensuring establishment of the authority as stipulated under Section-45 of the Act," the bench said in its order on February 10.

It also directed the chief secretary to file an affidavit of compliance, indicating the latest status before February 25, the next date of hearing.

"We also expect the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar to indicate the steps taken for complying with the other provisions of the Statute, the deficiencies pointed out by the petitioner in the writ petition, and the suggestion given for proper and effective implementation," the bench added.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp