Regretting the sorrowful state of the homes meant for mentally challenged persons, the Supreme Court on Thursday took a suo mote cognisance of the issue and sought explanations from the Centre and all states and union territories.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant issued notices to the central and state governments to submit their responses on the matter “without taking recourse to any kind of subterfuge” or an “adversarial position” in view of the “sacrosanct” purpose.
The court decided to expand the scope of a petition that related to one such shelter home in Delhi following a comprehensive report by senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who was appointed amicus in the case.
Tankha, after visiting ‘Asha Kiran’ – the home for mentally challenged in Delhi, had adduced a detailed report where he pointed out the apathy towards mentally challenged people, especially children, across various states.
The lawyer had recommended that institutes like Asha Kiran should be set up in each and every state to begin with our care for these under privileged section of society.
“All such institutes should be run under the care and guidance of professionals by which our society will be benefitted. Rather than treating such persons as liability let us work together to make them independent and productive for themselves as well as for the society,” Tanka’s report emphasised.
Accepting the suggestions, the bench said that “pathetic situation” of this category of persons, which have been highlighted in the report, could not be ignored. “All the state governments have a definite role to see that the Act is properly implemented and the persons under disability which includes the mentally challenged persons are taken care of as commanded by the Persons With Disability Act.
The court said that it was high time that a comprehensive study of the situation should be carried out to ensure “this class of people are treated with dignity, respect and as far as practicable feel a part of the main stream of life.”
The possibilities, the bench said, ought to be identified and efforts were to be made to meet the real challenge so that the conditions of the mentally challenged people in this country are ameliorated.
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