SC orders Centre and States to Vaccinate Mentally Ill in Hospitals and Asylums

Supreme court Law Insider IN
Supreme court Law Insider IN

Shivangi Prakash-

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed the Union Government to ensure that mentally ill individuals who have been hospitalized in hospitals and mental asylums are vaccinated.

The court ordered, “Persons who have been institutionalized must be vaccinated to protect them from the onset of infection. ASG Madhavi Divan has stated that they will take it up with utmost priority and chalk up a plan to vaccinate them”.

The order came from a two-judge bench of Justices Chandrachud and MR Shah, who were hearing the case involving the rehabilitation of thousands of mentally ill inmates who had been incarcerated in institutions and asylums.

Amicus Gaurav Kumar Bansal brought to the Court’s attention the issue that patients in mental health institutes were not being vaccinated.

“I am regularly in touch with these institutions. They have not even gotten the patients vaccinated. I request you to take cognizance of these matters too. At least the government should vaccinate them. They are in mental hospitals and have not been vaccinated”, submitted Bansal.

The Government, as per Justice Chandrachud, had to ensure that the same was done on the matter of vaccination.

He said, “They cannot travel or go to hospitals etc. So, you must ensure that they are vaccinated. Otherwise there will be a large amount of deaths in these establishments. We won’t give a mandamus on this, but we will say it in a way that you will do it anyway”

The Court also ordered the State of Maharashtra to stop transferring mentally ill individuals from institutions to beggar homes or old age homes, citing that it was unproductive and in violation of Section 104 of the Mental Healthcare Act.

States/Union Territories were given additional instructions to expand their participation in the matter and to ensure that,

1) Inconsistencies in their data were rectified and made accessible to the Task Force, and

2) A status report on the implementation of the directives on halfway houses was submitted prior to the Ministry of Social Justice’s meeting on July 12. The matter will now be heard on 27 July.

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