High Court seeks to know if Nagaland government has constituted State Mental Health Authority
Kohima, July 17 (EMN): The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has sought response from the government of Nagaland on whether State Mental Health Authority has been constituted as mandated by Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.
If not constituted yet, the court asked why it should not be constituted as per the Act and when it would be done.
According to the section 45 of the Act, “every state government shall, within a period of nine months from the date on which this Act receives the assent of the President, by notification, establish for the purposes of this Act, an authority to be known as the State Mental Health Authority”.
However, Nagaland is yet to constitute the said authority even after three years of the Act coming into force in May 2018, thus affecting the implementation of provisions for persons with mental illness under the Act, according to sources.
“Keeping in view the country’s commitment to follow the convention on rights of persons with disabilities and its optional protocol which was adopted on 3/12/2006 at United Nations Headquarter at New York and which came into force on 3/5/2008, our Parliament passed the Mental Healthcare Act,2017, an act for mental health care and service for persons with mental illness and to protect and promote and fulfil the rights of such persons during delivery of mental healthcare and service and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto and the same received assent of the President of India on 7/4/2017,” the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court observed.
‘Upon constituting of State Mental Health Authority, it is responsible to constitute Mental Health Review Board in all the districts. It appears from the Act that without the constitution of the authority and the board nothing can be initiated for the purpose of implementing the provisions of the Act,’ it added.
On behalf of the petitioner, counsel Neiteo Koza prayed for a writ of mandamus directing the state respondents to constitute the Mental Health Authority as per the provisions of the Act so that further necessary steps can be taken for the welfare of the mentally challenged people.
Meanwhile, Sr. government advocate Moa Imchen prayed for time to be given to him to find out whether or not such authority has already been constituted.
The court has listed the matter for hearing to July 28.
It may be mentioned that the public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Gauhati High Court by one Tsipongse Thonger, a resident of Kohima.