The Supreme Court refused to accord an urgent hearing to a plea seeking release of male and female patients who are fit for discharge from a mental hospital in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.
A vacation bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and L Nageswara Rao said there was no urgency and the matter could be taken up after the summer break of the apex court at the end of June.
During the hearing, the bench also asked petitioner advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal why he had not approached the High Court in this regard.
Bansal said he had approached the apex court as there were around 60 patients in Mental Hospital, Bareilly, who are normal and fit for discharge, and among them were several who were from different states including Kerala.
The bench listed the matter for hearing after summer vacation which ends on June 28.
In his plea, the petitioner said he had filed applications under Right to Information Act in three mental hospitals of Uttar Pradesh seeking information about the patients who are normal and fit for discharge.
He claimed to have taken legal interviews of some of the patients admitted in the Bareilly hospital and found these persons to be as normal as other human beings and wished to live free.
“That this court in its various judgments had observed that the Right to Life includes ‘right to live with dignity’ and in the present case the patients who are absolutely normal are forced to live with the mentally ill persons since last many years and hence their fundamental rights are infringed by the Respondents,” the plea said.
It said that the “inability of the government to provide social security to such persons is also questionable and thus needs urgent intervention from this court.”
The plea said the living conditions of female and male patients who were absolutely normal, along with the mentally ill patients, was “totally unsatisfactory”, “unethical” and “unconstitutional” and infringed the fundamental rights of the individual.
It sought direction to the Uttar Pradesh government and the hospitals to make arrangements to shift the patients who are normal and fit for discharge from the hospital to any other secure place like old age homes.