The Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday it has set up an online portal for providing information on mental health facilities available in the country and 31 states and union territories (UTs) have so far provided requisite details for this purpose.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, however, took note of the submission that states like Jharkhand, Bihar and the union territory of Lakshadweep have not provided the details to be uploaded on the portal, and directed them to do so in two weeks.
“We direct the states and UTs to furnish the relevant information,” the bench said and posted the PIL filed by lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal for further hearing after three weeks. At the start of the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for the Centre, said she would like to do a live presentation in the court showing where the centres are located across India.
The CJI asked the law officer to show the operation of the portal on screen in the court next time. Earlier, the Central government had told the bench on November 22 last year that it was in the process of setting up the portal.
Bansal has sought in his PIL the rehabilitation and COVID-19 vaccination of mentally ill people currently lodged in various hospitals and mental healthcare institutions across the country. The law officer had said the government has invited tenders so real time information on mental health facilities right down to the district level can be displayed on the portal.
“The portal would be ready and functional within a period of a month,” the law officer had said leading to the adjournment of the hearing on the PIL to January 27. Prior to this, the top court had on September 1, 2021 passed a slew of directions including the one asking the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to set up a dashboard for seamless information with regard to various facilities available in states and union territories (UTs) for mentally challenged people.
“We direct that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment must set up an online dashboard in which complete details in regard to: (i) availability of institutions; (ii) facilities provided; (iii) capacity; (iv) occupancy; and (v) region-wise distribution of the Half-way Homes is made available state-wise and for the UTs. “The availability of Half-way Homes must also be reflected in the online dashboard. The data of each State and Union Territory must be uploaded on the dashboard on a real time basis,” the bench had ordered