The Kohima Bench of the Gauhati High Court on Wednesday sought the Nagaland Government’s response on the constitution of the State Mental Health Authority under Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
The Division Bench of Justice Songkhupchung Serto and Justice S. Hukato Swu heard Neiteo Koza, counsel appearing for the petitioner, and also heard Moa Imchen, Senior Government Advocate appearing for the State.
The Court said the 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 fulfill 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 April 7, 2017 while 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.
As per Section 45 of the said Act, every State Government is required to constitute an authority to be known as the State Mental Health Authority within 9 months from the date on which the Act receives the assent of the President and the Authority is to be constituted as per the provisions of Section 46.
Such authority when constituted is responsible for constituting the 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, the Bench held.
It is pertinent to note that a PIL has been filed in the Gauhati High Court by Tsipongse Thonger seeking a direction from the Court to the Nagaland government to constitute the Mental Health Authority as per the provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 so that further necessary steps can be taken for the welfare of the mentally challenged.
On Wednesday, Moa Imchen, Senior Government Advocate for the State, requested the High Court for a grant of some time to find out whether such authority has been already constituted or not, therefore the Court listed the matter to July 28.
“On that day, Mr. Moa Imchen, learned Sr. Government Advocate shall come instructed as to whether the authority has been constituted or not and if not, as to why it should not be constituted as per the Act and when it would be constituted,” the order reads