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    Supreme court orders central, state govts to monitor homes for intellectually impaired

    Date : 08/12/2016

    Reena Banerjee & Anr Vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Ors
    CIVIL APPEAL NO.11938/2016 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No.39321/2012)

    This appeal arose from the judgment of the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in W.P (c) No.8229/2011 dated 7th September 2012. The appellants filed an intervention application in the High Court, in a disposed of suomoto Writ Petition (Civil) No.5621/2012, this intervention application was directed to be delinked and to be registered as a fresh Writ Petition. Accordingly, the application was registered as W.P (Civil) No.8229/2011

    This case was about the pitiable and pathetic condition of Asha Kiran Home for differently abled men, women and children and the lack of medical facilities, rehabilitation, vocational training inadequate nutrition and ill-treatment resulting in regular deaths of residents in Asha Kiran. The High Court directed the parties to convene a joint meeting and submit a proposal about the reforms required. The Government of Delhi submitted a report and after adverting the report, the High Court disposed of the matter by expressing a hope that the authorities concerned will implement the proposed action within assured time frame.

    The appellants, however, approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court by way of this appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The principal grievance of the appellants was that the High Court ought not to have mechanically accepted the suggestions given by the State Government in to, also that the authorities had never fulfilled their commitments made before the High Court in previous Writ Petitions. The rejoinder affidavit filed in this Court disputed the correctness of the factual position about the condition of Asha Kiran Home.

    Considering the factual position stated in additional affidavit, the Hon’ble Supreme Court was of the view that the issues agitated by the appellants before the Delhi High Court had been substantially redressed and that in case there was still any subsisting deficiency or shortcoming or a possibility of further improvisation, it was always open to the appellants to give their suggestions to the Governing Council.

    The Supreme Court observed that the pitiable condition as stated in Asha Kiran could be true in respect of Homes in other parts of the country. The Court issued notice to all the State Governments and Union Territories and directed them to file their response about the ground reality prevailing in their respective states.

    The Hon’ble Supreme Court disposed the matter on December 8, 2016 directing the Central Coordination Committee and the State Coordination Committees set up under the 1995 Persons with Disabilities Act to monitor, review, coordinate and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and the conditions of the Homes and to take welfare measures. Also, the Secretary of the Union of India and the Secretaries of the States for Ministry of Health and Social Welfare were to be responsible for monitoring the progress and action taken by these Committees. In the opinion of Hon’ble Supreme Court, six months time frame given to the Central Coordination Committee and the concerned State Coordination Committee is sufficient to take necessary remedial measures. The Central Authority and the concerned State Authority for Mental Health Services too were made responsible to inspect and evaluate the conditions of the psychiatric hospital and nursing homes under their jurisdiction and submit reports to the Registry of the Supreme Court within 6 months.

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