Delhi to have special provisions for mentally ill women

March 12th, 2009 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Taking note of the shocking saga of former model Gitanjali Nagpal, the Delhi High Court Thursday directed the government to create separate wards for mentally ill women, especially the homeless, in state-run shelter homes.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna asked the government to set up special wards for the mentally ill in the state government-run Nirmal Chhaya shelter homes within three months.

A specialised ward will have a team of a psychiatrist along with medical staff and all necessary facilities for the rehabilitation of the mentally ill.

It directed the central government to release funds for the Urban Health Module so that rehabilitation work can be done at a faster pace.

The bench was hearing a public interest petition from a Delhi University law student, Pratibha Chopra, seeking the court’s attention towards the plight of mentally ill people in the capital.

The petitioner referred to the case of Nagpal and said there are more than 2,500 girls in Delhi who are mentally ill and are not receiving any aid from the government which has led to their exploitation.

Nagpal, 32, who once walked the ramp for top designers, was last year found begging at a market in south Delhi last year. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) took her to the VIMHANS hospital, where doctors diagnosed her as suffering from fear psychosis.

The court also asked the Judicial Academy to sensitise police and judicial officers about the issue.

The bench asked the government to set up an authority for mental health and directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to provide land to the government for the purpose.

The court also asked the government to constitute a committee comprising of the secretary of the social welfare department, principal secretary of family and child health development, and the head of department of psychiatry at the Institute for Behavioural Health Studies and Applied Sciences (IBHAS) and asked it to submit a compliance report by July 6 and slated the matter to July 13.

The court also asked the government to formulate guidelines so that people can help the mentally ill without any legal tangles.

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