The Delhi High Court on Friday has asked the Central Government to look for mechanisms and come up with guidelines to make the COVID-19 tests facility available for mentally ill homeless persons even if they don’t have any identity proof.
A divisional bench comprising the Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan while hearing the PIL through video conferencing stated that there is an urgent need to make some mechanism by which these homeless mentally ill people can also be tested for COVID-19.
The PIL was filed by Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking directions to the Delhi and Central Government to frame guidelines regarding the COVID-19 testing facility for the homeless mentally ill people.
The affidavit submitted by the government stated that the difficulty in testing homeless mentally ill persons is that they do not have their photo identity card and a valid mobile number and both of them are mandatory under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines.
Whereas the bench noted that these people do not have any identity proof, not only that, they don’t have their passport size photo, how can you expect “Photo ID” of such a person.
Mr. Bansal appearing in person submitted that the homeless mentally ill people are being neglected, whereas, they lie in a vulnerable category as they do not have shelter and exposed to the risk of COVID-19. They need special care and regular support of the government and our society.
The petition stated, “However, a crisis like the present COVID-19 pandemic puts additional responsibility on the government shoulders to formulate and implement such public health programs for homeless mentally ill persons which are not only able to provide mental health treatment but can also effectively protect them from the said deadly virus.”
-India Legal Bureau