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HomeLegal NewsBombay High Court raps State Authorities for non-implementation of Health Act

Bombay High Court raps State Authorities for non-implementation of Health Act

Mumbai: The division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Gauri Godse of Bombay High Court while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) rapped the State Government and the State Mental Health Authority (SMHA) for “doing nothing” to implement provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.The PIL filed by psychiatrist Harish Shetty sought directions from the court for implementation of the Act and regular investigation into mental healthcare institutions to ensure they regularly assess the condition of patients to ascertain if they can be discharged.

The HC noted that the SMHA, which was to be constituted as per the provisions of the Act, was expected to meet at least four times a year. However, it was constituted in August and the first meeting was held in September.The Act states that the state body has to perform several functions, including registration/ supervision of mental health establishments and training of health workers and professionals. The CEO, on a yearly basis, has to submit approvals, a general report on activities/progress, accounts and budget of the current and next year.

“The minutes of the meeting refer to none of these,” noted the bench in its order. It was further noted that the meeting referred to a bank account opened for the said fund. Justice Jamdar said, “If an account is opened in September, how the authority functioned without funds is something that it has to place on record.”The court has also sought a timeline for the activities and said that if it did not find the timeline by the body’s CEO reasonable, it will pass orders in that regard.The Public Health Department secretary has also been directed to file an affidavit listing measures to be taken, including giving wide publicity to the provisions of the law.