Friday, June 21, 2024
North East

Assam gets time till March for mental health review boards at prisons

Guwahati, December 15: The Gauhati High Court granted the Assam government time till March for the effective functioning of mental health review boards and committees to monitor the mental health conditions of inmates lodged in the jails of the state. Hearing a public interest litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice RM Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia directed the state government to make all arrangements for the boards to start functioning from April 1.
“…the respondent authorities are granted time till 31.03.2023 to complete the process and also to allot necessary budgetary provisions for the same so that the Mental Health Review Boards and Committees start functioning effectively from 01.04.2023,” said the order dated December 13.
The bench said the Mental Health Act, 1987 and the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 were neither implemented nor followed in the prisons of the state, particularly the Morigaon district jail. The court directed that mental health review boards in each district should submit their reports to the high court.
“…if any discrepancy is found, the same shall be brought to the notice of the respective Boards for effective implementation of the provisions of the Acts,” it said. The bench noted that mentally ill inmates are kept with the general inmates in the jails, and stated that petitioner ‘Studio Nilima: Collaborative Network for Research and Capacity Building’ have shared instances of non-implementation of the provisions of the two acts. The government told the court that these boards and committees require earmarked budgets, which are under active consideration and proposals for the same will be presented before the state cabinet for approval. (PTI)