The Central government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it will set up an online portal in a month to provide “seamless information” with regard to mental health facilities available in the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer G K Bansal seeking rehabilitation and COVID-19 vaccination of mentally ill people currently lodged in various hospitals and mental healthcare institutions across the country.
Additional Solicitor General Madhvi Divan, appearing for the Centre, told the bench, also comprising justices Hima Kohli and J B Pardiwala, 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 said. The bench then adjourned the hearing on the PIL and said it will be listed after a month.
The top court had on September 1, 2021 passed a slew of directions including the one asking the the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to set up a dash board for seamless information with regard to various facilities available in states and union territories (UTs) for mentally challenged peple.
“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.
Earlier, the top court had deprecated the practice by states of re-designating old-age homes and other custodial institutions as halfway homes for people who have been cured of mental illnesses, saying it will not serve the purpose of rehabilitation.
It had said the setting up of halfway homes and rehabilitation of the cured people must take place proactively across the country by the states/UTs and mere re-designating the existing facilities will not serve the purpose.
The bench had said it will be appropriate if the Centre monitors the progress and apprises the court periodically so that it is not required to take up the case of each state individually for assessing the progress made.
It had also said the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment must hold meetings every month to monitor the progress of setting up of halfway homes and for the rehabilitation of those cured of mental illnesses in terms of the orders of the court.
(With PTI inputs)