SC seeks response from Centre, states on mental hospitals

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and state governments to file their response within three weeks on a plea for improving the condition of mental hospitals.

Updated: Oct 18, 2013, 16:27 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and state governments to file their response within three weeks on a plea for improving the condition of mental hospitals in the country by providing adequate financial resources and increasing the number of trained doctors.

A bench of Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Pinaki Chandra Ghose sought their response on the petition filed by National Human Rights Commission for direction to set up more mental health hospitals, which should be autonomous.

"The mental health hospitals in the country are facing serious financial constraints as adequate resources allocation is not being made to meet their requirements. The Centre and state governments should accord priority in allocation of financial resources both for the regular maintenance and the upgradation of the physical infrastructure of these institutions," the Commission said.
It said that many of the mental hospitals are 100 to 150- years-old and they do not receive the same priority as general health.

Each state and Union Territory must have one mental health hospital fully equipped with latest equipment and sufficient medical and para medical manpower and such hospitals be made autonomous, it said.

"Lack of adequate administrative and financial powers of the Directors and the Superintendents of the hospitals is seriously affecting their functioning. Therefore, these institutions should be made completely autonomous in managing their own affairs and the managing committee of these institutions should have adequate administrative and financial powers to manage their affairs efficiently," the petition said.

The Commission said state governments may be directed to sanction medical and para-medical manpower to these hospitals as recommended by NHRC without delay.

PTI