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Archives for : Disability

NSSO 76th sample survey to include acid attack victims, autism

The survey is being conducted after a long gap of 16 years and nationwide this will be the first survey after the formulation of Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016.

Kolkata June 12 (IANS) The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) set up in 1950 for collection of various kinds of socio-economic data will begin its 76th round from July 1 to cover persons with disability including acid attack victims and drinking water sanitation hygiene and housing condition an official release said here on Tuesday.

This is the first time the survey on disability is to be conducted in which some rare types of disability like autism spectrum disorder cerebral palsy dwarfism haemophilia multiple sclerosis muscular dystrophy Parkinson s disease sickle cell disease and thalassemia as well as acid attack victims are included.

For this purpose NSSO started a 3-day formal training of its Field Officers here on Tuesday.
The training programme was inaugurated by Additional Director General Sample & Research Division NSSO Tapash K. Sanyal.

He said other forms of disabilities including physical visual hearing speech and mental disability will also be taken into account as usual.

The objective of the survey of persons with disabilities is to estimate incidence and prevalence of disability cause and facilities available to the specially-abled persons difficulties faced by them in accessing public building and public transport and out of pocket expenses due to disability.

The survey is being conducted after a long gap of 16 years and nationwide this will be the first survey after the formulation of Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016.

The other part of the survey will focus on some basic amenities like drinking water sanitation electricity garbage disposal type of dwelling units hygiene and housing conditions etc.

The data will be collected from all parts of the country and the same will be used by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry of Health and Family Welfare NITI Aayog UNICEF WHO among others.

–IANS ssp/vd

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Indian Court allows visually disabled woman to fulfil dream of becoming judge #Goodnews

 

Ashutosh Shukla

Rashmi ThakurRashmi Thakur
BHOPAL/JABALPUR: The Madhya Pradesh high court will hold an exam for civil judge recruitment in July for just one candidate — an extraordinary step for an extraordinary person.

Jabalpur lawyer Rashmi Thakur, who is 75% blind since birth, scored 85% in her prelims despite being barred from using a writer (scrubber, in legal terms). She fell short of the cut-off by 5% and moved high court, which felt that her score in such trying circumstances was worth more than the cut-off. Since the main exam was over, a division bench of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V K Shukla ordered another exam, just for her.

Asked how she managed to give her online prelims, she told TOI: “I can write only if I keep the paper an inch away from my eyes. That is the limit of my vision. That’s how I gave my papers in school and colleges. That’s how I gave my online exam.”

After getting her law degree in 2013, she immediately started practicing in court. “But I always wanted to be a judge. In 2016, when I read about Brahmanand Sharma of Rajasthan, a visually-impaired person like me making it to judicial services in his state, I saw a ray of hope,” said Rashmi.

Her first hurdle was a rule that only those suffering from orthopaedic disability would get benefit of reservation. She wasn’t allowed a scrubber, either. Undaunted, she moved HC to include visually-impaired on the list of disabled persons but with no success. In 2017, when 94 vacancies of civil judges were advertised by the high court, she applied as a general candidate. And, this bold decision eventually paid off.

She fell short of the qualifying score by 5% but filed a writ petition in HC, with the help of senior advocate Surendra Verma. A division bench of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V K Shukla was impressed by her fortitude and accepted her argument. The bench not only allowed her to appear in the main exam but also ordered inclusion of visually-impaired persons on the list of disabled and provide them reservation.

“Justice Gupta was very appreciative of my efforts. Taking the online exam without a scrubber was difficult. I have given online exams in the past as well but every time I was allowed to sit with a scrubber,” said Rashmi.

“It is not a personal victory for me. All my visually-impaired brethren have won. They will now be provided with a scrubber and also get the benefit of reservation,” said Rashmi.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/blind-advocate-falls-short-by-5-hc-gives-100-for-effort/articleshow/64363411.cms

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India – Cabinet approves establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation at Bhopal

The Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. The estimated cumulative cost of the project is Rs. 179.54 crore in first three years. This includes non-recurring expenditure of Rs. 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs. 51 crore.
The Union Cabinet has also approved the proposal to create three Joint Secretary level posts, which include one post of Director of the Institute and two posts of Professors.
The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to the persons with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation.
The Institute will have nine Departments/Centres and will conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, post graduate, M.Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation. Within a span of 5 years, the student intake of the institute in various courses is expected to be over 400.
Government of Madhya Pradesh has allocated 5 acres of land in Bhopal for setting up of this Institute. The Institute will be established in three years in two phases. Within two years, the civil and electrical work of the institute will be completed. Simultaneously, during the construction of building, the Institute will run in a suitable rented building in Bhopal to conduct certificate/diploma courses and also OPD services. Subsequently, the Institute will provide complete set of rehabilitation services for persons with mental illness and conduct courses upto Master’s degree and M.Phil.
NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation.  It will serve as an institution of excellence to develop capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation and also help the Government to develop models for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness.
*****
AKT/VBA/SH

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Rajasthan – Meet the first visually impaired judge #disability #Goodnews

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 31-year-old Brahmananda Sharma, who lost his eyesight due to glaucoma at the age of 22, always wanted to be a judge and did not once think of giving up his dream.
  • Sharma, who hails from Bhilwara and studied in a government school, appeared for the 2013 Rajasthan Judicial Services Examination and cleared it in the first attempt, securing 83rd rank.

Brahmananda SharmaBrahmananda Sharma

AJMER: Like any other judge, 31-year-old Brahmananda Sharma refers to the court proceedings several times over. However, like them, he does not read through the notes. The first visually impaired judge of Rajasthan, instead, listens to the recorded proceedings.
A civil judge and judicial magistrate of Sarwar town of Ajmer district, who lost his eyesight due to glaucoma at the age of 22, Sharma always wanted to be a judge and did not once think of giving up his dream.”I even approached a coaching centre but they refused to help me. It is my family which helped me all through. My wife, who is a teacher at a government school, read out the books and we maintained a recording of the readings, which I listened to frequently,” he says, speaking to TOI. Sharma, who hails from Bhilwara and studied in a government school, appeared for the 2013 Rajasthan Judicial Services Examination and cleared it in the first attempt, securing 83rd rank. The Rajasthan High Court recommended a year’s training for him, after which he joined the service in 2016. His first posting was in Chittorgarh, from where he was recently transferred to Sarwar.Hundreds of advocates come to the court and Sharma claims, he can recognize them all by their footsteps. “Many a times, I sense that advocates and their clients are skeptical and even wonder if a visually impaired man can ensure justice. They seem to forget that even the eyes of the woman of justice are covered. I do justice weighing the facts and merits of a case, just the way it should be,” a confident Sharma says.

Sharma uses an e-speak device connected to a computer, which converts and records the notes made by the reader into speech. “When an advocate approaches my court with a petition, I ask him to read the plaint as well as the attached documents. His voice is enough for me to judge his authenticity,” says the judge.

He listens to the recorded arguments made by advocates and statements made by witnesses and clients several times over. “I have to be sure that I don’t miss out on anything, which might be crucial for the case,” he says.

“The use of technology should be increased in the judicial system so that people who are illiterate can also understand what actually is being done by the court. It will also bring transparency as the illiterate witnesses can later hear their statements given to the court,” adds the judge. Managing the staff is a little tough, he accepts, but he does it by evaluating what his reader or clerk is doing or speaking. Sharma says that he is happy that he not only maintained his self-esteem but also proved that nothing can stop a person from fulfilling his dream. “I have no remorse for my disability,” he adds.

Meanwhile, In 2009, T Chakkaravarthy, he created a judicial history by probably becoming the first visually impaired judicial officer in Tamil Nadu to hold court.In March 2009, when the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) included him in the list of 180-odd candidates for the subordinate judiciary, Chakkaravarthy’s 17-year dream to enter the judicial service was realised. Born at Thimiri village near Arcot in Vellore district, this 41-year-old lost his eye sight at four, when he was down with small pox. He is now the proud occupant of III additional district munsif’s chair in Coimbatore.

On his first independent day in court on Monday, Chakkaravarthy heard cases on his own. Though he said he had struggled a lot to reach the position, and indicated that he might require the services of an assistant, he did not wish to elaborate on that. He said that being a judicial officer he would require permission from the High Court Registry to speak about himself and other related issues. Perhaps to assist him in his work, Chakkaravarthy’s wife Thilaka is studying LLB now.”This candidate did not require any special arrangements during his training and induction programme,” said S Vimala, district judge and former director of the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy. Noting that Chakkaravarthy had cleared all requirements before his selection, Vimala said chief justice HL Gokhale met him during the induction training and assured him of the higher judiciary’s all moral support to him.

The issue of visually impaired persons seeking to break into the judiciary is not new in Tamil Nadu. In 2003, authorities rejected a visually disabled candidate’s application for a subordinate judiciary post. He had to file a writ petition seeking a direction to the authorities to permit him to write the examination. Though he managed to be short-listed from out of thousands of aspirants, the candidate stumbled at the interview stage, said a jurist who argued for the candidate.
The case, however, had triggered a serious debate on the issue, with questions such as what is handicap?’ Referring to the half a dozen outstation judges, who were on transfer from other states, the jurist had argued that language was a barrier/handicap to those judges, and that they had to take the help of either a co-judge or the court staff for translation or interpretation.

When the bench, headed by justice Jayasimha Babu, asked as to how would the disabled person look into the eyes of the accused and assess the demeanour, the jurist argued that it was an old technique as “looks are deceptive nowadays.” The bench relented finally and allowed him to write the examinations.

The jurist had also to point out the fact that justice Zakeria Mohammed Zak Yacoob became judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa despite his blindness. In West Bengal, Sadhan Gupta was made advocate general in 1986-87 though he too was visually impaired.

The district munsif only needs to listen to chief examination and cross-examination before dictating his verdict to a steno, he said.

Times of India

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India – Inclusive Karnataka Election -2018 ? #Disability

Here’s what to expect :

1) Barricading will not block your access by vehicle to drop off point close to booth

2) Each booth has signage indicating priority queue for voters with disabilities & senior citizens

3) Keep an eye out for a wheelchair volunteer – 1/4 polling stations have wheelchair facility.

4) A 1:12 gradient ramp with handrails should facilitate your entry and level-free passage inside the station.

5) Show your voter id card or a photo ID like passport, PAN / Aadhaar card for verification

6) Get inked.

7) If you are an English Braille user, ask for a copy of the dummy ballot paper with the order of candidates listed
on the EVM. Memorise your preferred candidate’s number. The number after the last candidate is the NOTA
(none of the above) option.

8) Braille numbers are embossed to the right of the voting button, on same line as the written text. Wait for the audiovisual feedback after pressing the button to confirm your vote has been cast.

9) If you’d like to vote with a companion’s assistance they will need to fill a declaration (under section 49N of the Conduct of Elections Rules) and you will be required to sign / fingerprint the polling booth official’s 14A book.

Your companion will also be allowed to vote immediately after you.

10) Fill the form at www.bit.ly/votability to tell us how your voting experience was.

Booth-capturing‘ pictures of good / bad amenities? WhatsApp +919003021773, share on social media with hashtag  #Votability, Tweet @Disabilitylndia or email [email protected]

 

Let us know whaich booths were inaccessible

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSemM6Qv5Z2-CaLwh6f4GAtP9H5aMRygxGMgfzmgGYhkxFvZWA/viewform

 

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Advertising – #VijaySales must #TakeDown An Ableist Ad That Mistakes Blindness For Incapability

Is The Internet Blind?

Persons with disabilities have been subjected to society’s insensitivity since time immemorial. To say that television commercials and films have ridiculed persons with disabilities in numerous instances is an understatement. In the streak of such commercials and films, here is this recent advertisement by an electronics retail store chain, “Vijay Sales”.

The advertisement that can be found here is one of the many commercials of Vijay Sales that says, “Internet dekh nahi sakta (the internet can’t see).” The advertisement shows a person who calls himself ‘Internet’. The customer is shown asking Mr Internet “if he could see her gestures” to which he replies: “No! I can’t see.” He’s shown wearing dark glasses (the fatuous symbol of blindness) and is supported by two women.

There are many preposterous scenes in the commercial that show the blind man looking away at a wrong direction; not being able to understand the customer’s questions because of his blindness; relying on his cane (again used as a symbol for blindness).

I still don’t understand the point of drawing an analogy between the internet and a person with visual impairment. The latter is also a “divyang”. Does the internet possess such supernatural powers?

This advertisement is a pressing example of how the Indian society is still bound by the shackles of ideologies undermining the potential of persons with disabilities. To show that the internet has a limitation in responding to the customer-centric queries is one thing and showing that a blind person is not capable of doing things labelled as ‘normal’ by the society is different. I believe the advertising agency hired by Vijay Sales doesn’t understand the difference between blindness and incapability. To use both these words as synonyms is truly derogatory.

Persons with disabilities have proven their mettle in almost all walks of life. Persons with blindness have broken all the glass ceilings and have been great successes in the world.

It is not hard to understand that Vijay Sales seeks to compete with stronger e-commerce rivals through the commercial. However, would the use of persons with disabilities in such a way yield profits for the business? Persons with disabilities have been mostly excluded from the mainstream economic channel of the country.

Activists and organisations have long been demanding economic and financial inclusion for them. However, I didn’t know that financial inclusion would mean this: including blindness in a commercial in a nonsensical manner and earning profits from it. The internet can’t see? I believe Vijay Sales and their advertising agency are actually not able to see (with their sight) the derogatory remarks they’re making in this commercial.

This article is only an addition to the great pool of articles talking about the need to sensitise people about the great diversity that exists in India, and the world at large. It’s high time we make these people realise that earning profits through ridiculing underprivileged sections of the society is an act of shame. To conclude this post, I would only say that Vijay Sales must take down this advertisement right away and put up a public apology.

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India – No Country For The Disabled

Why hasn’t India, despite its growth, not succeeded in providing the disabled with employment?


 NEW DELHI: Of the 121 crore people in India, 2.68 crore are disabled, accounting for 2.21% of the total population. Amongst them, 56% are males and 44% are females, and a majority of the disabled population belong to the rural areas (Census 2011).

India celebrates itself as the world’s largest democracy and amongst its fastest growing economies — so a question worth asking is where India’s disabled population fit in in this growth story.

Everytime you stop at a traffic signal, count the number of times a handicapped young man comes to you asking for money; how many times does a blind man approach you for a few rupees. This is a common occurrence anywhere in the country. Be it a station or a temple or a traffic signal or just a busy footpath.

This brings us to the question “Why?” Why, being the world’s largest democracy and on the verge of becoming the third largest economy, have we still not succeeded in trying to provide the disabled with proper employment opportunities? Why haven’t we managed to include the physically disabled in the job providing sector?

The National Policy recognizes the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) as necessary assets to the country. It also aims to provide the PWD with a comfortable atmosphere along with the basic constitutional rights and equal opportunities so that their rights are protected and they are an active participant of the society.

On December 16, 2016, the Lok Sabha passed the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill” which replaced the previously existing “Person with Disabilities Act” of 1995. The Bill met the criteria of the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Bill recognized Disability as an evolving and dynamic concept. Also, the types of disabilities have been increased from former seven to 21.

The New Act aimed to enhance the Rights and Entitlements of “Divyangjan” and also provide effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and inclusion in the society.

The Bill was an important and much needed move in terms of inclusion of the PWD in the society but has it been effective regarding provision of employment and job opportunities? Has the government provided them with any concessions or benefits that will help them be self-sufficient? How many government-funded organizations work towards providing them with basic amenities like food, shelter and most of all, jobs? What has the government done to ensure the inclusion of the PWD in the society as a whole?

The Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 3% reservations for persons with disabilities is allocated in identified Government establishments. Under the Scheme of Incentives to the Private Sector for Employment of Physically Challenged Persons, the Government provides the employer’s contribution for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees State Insurance (ESI) for 3 years, for employees with disabilities including visually impaired persons employed in the private sector on or after 01.04.2008, with a monthly salary upto Rs.25, 000.

Even the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) guarantees employment to rural household adults including persons with disabilities. Under National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM), a provision of 3% of the total beneficiaries has been made for persons with disabilities.

Also working alongside these government schemes are NGOs that help the PWDs in becoming self sufficient and work towards their inclusion in the job sector. One such organization is Samarthanam Foundation in New Delhi.

Talking about their work, the Founder and Chairman, Mahantesh GK, said, “Since its inception, the foundation is working on the major programmes like Education, skilling, employment, environment, Cricket for Blind and other programmes for PWDs.”

Asked about whether the organization itself provides these people with employment opportunities, he answered, “40% workforce in Samarthanam out of 550 employees are PWDs. We also encourage and support PWDs to become self-employed.”

The current scenario regarding job opportunities for the disabled, even with the existing schemes, is still disheartening. There is a need for stronger implementation of these schemes and more incentives to encourage the PWDs to become self-sufficient and not resort to the streets as their only option.

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/8/13661/No-Country-For-The-Disabled

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Landmark Verdict -Delhi HC Asks Parents To Compensate Daughter For Violating Her Right To Choice, Detaining Her In Mental Hospital

Delhi HC slams parents, cops, docs for trying to declare woman unstable

 HC says obligation to respect one‘s rights is placed both on state and non-state actors….

HC says obligation to respect one‘s rights is placed both on state and non-state actors.

In a rather unusual judgement coming on the heels of Supreme Court’s Hadiya verdict, the Delhi High Court has recognised that threat to the right of choice of a person and thereby right to life, liberty, privacy and dignity can very well come from the person‘s own parents and has directed the parents of a girl to pay her compensation of Rs 3 lakh for forcibly picking her up from the residence of her music teachers and detaining her in a mental institution where she was forced to spend one day and one night in “clear violation of Section 19 MHA read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and C Hari Shankar also directed the Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS), the private mental health facility where the girl was detained illegally and the ambulance service named Almas Ambulance Service (Almas), which transported her to the hospital by administering her some medicine which caused her to faint, to also pay the girl a compensation of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively.

The compensation is to be deposited in the girl’s own account in  four weeks.

The Court concluded that the act of the parents in forcibly taking away of the girl from the residence of the Petitioners (her music teacher) on 11th June 2017 and her consequent detention at the private mental hospital till the morning hours of 13th June, 2017 was illegal and unconstitutional and violative of her fundamental rights to life, liberty, dignity and privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and Section 19 of the MHA.

The parents have been told to not disturb her right to choice and privacy.

The verdict of the court comes in a writ of habeas corpus moved by the woman’s classical music teacher who is 69 years old and her wife.

Facts of the case:

In the instant case, the 23-year-old girl referred to as ‘Z’ in the judgement to maintain her privacy,  had been living with her classical music teacher and his wife since she turned 18. She had been taking lessons in music from them since the age of 11.

It all started with a criminal complaint filed by Z’s parents in 2014 in Saket court wherein they averred that there was a history of mental illness running in the family and that their daughter‘s behaviour had undergone a drastic change since 2011. They had alleged that Z had been enticed away by the Petitioners who had undue influence over her from the time when she was a minor.

The complaint was dismissed by the Magistrate on April, 2015 after she spoke with Z in chamber where she spoke about being harassed by her parents previously and how she had approached National Commission for Women for redress. Z informed the magistrate that she was a major; had never suffered from any mental ailment; had no intention of joining her parents and wanted to live separately.

The parents initiated second round of litigation in 2016 when they approached the Delhi High court pleading that they be appointed as guardians of Z.

The writ petition was heard by a learned Single Judge  and during the pendency of the petition, on the orders of the court, Z underwent a psychiatric evaluation at AIIMS over the course of 6-7 sessions. The doctors concluded there was no indication towards psychosis (schizophrenia) or any other psychopathology.

In the light of this report, the single judge dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

Z gets picked up by her parents

Less than a year after the single judge’s order, on 11th June 2017, a letter was addressed by Z‘s parents to the SHO of Police Station Malviya Nagar where they complained of their daughter having been enticed away by her music teacher.

In this letter, the parents neither mentioned that the girl was major nor did they reveal about their unsuccessful complaint before the magistrate. Rather, a bald assertion was made to the effect that doctor has advised for immediate medical attention and psychiatric treatment of Z.

At about 5 PM the same day, the parents and brother of Z accompanied by local police from Malviya Nagar police station and the officials of Almas  forcibly barged into the Petitioners‘ (music teacher) house. The teacher was allegedly beaten up while Z was forcibly administered intravenous substance which caused  her to faint.

Z’s father went on to state on affidavit that he decided on the said course of action on the advice of Dr Sunil Mittal, the officer-in-charge of CIMBS. The court also noted that, “Z‘s father goes on to state in his affidavit that CIMBS maintains an operational connection with an ambulance service provider, i.e. Almas whose contact details were provided to him by CIMBS authorities”.

Z was taken away to CIMBS and kept there without her consent till the morning of 13th June 2017 without the medical officer-in-charge Dr Sunil Mittal satisfying himself about the need for Z to be admitted as an in-patient as mandated by Section 19 of the Mental Health Act.

CIMBS had submitted that since 11th June 2017 was a Sunday, Dr. Mittal, was not available and in order to satisfy the requirement of Section 19 (1) MHA, he was contacted on the telephone by Dr. Sameer Kalani and, after being explained the diagnosis, conveyed his oral satisfaction that Z should be admitted as an in-patient at the hospital.

To this, the court said, “Since the responsibility of arriving at a satisfaction as to a patient‘s mental health under Section 19 (1) MHA is not meant to be delegated to anyone else, the satisfaction that had to be recorded had to be of Dr. Sunil Mittal himself and no one else. In the present case, the satisfaction for the purposes of Section 19(1) MHA was two-fold: that Z, being a mentally ill person, was unable to express her willingness to be admitted in the psychiatric hospital and further that her admission in the hospital would be in her best interest. This satisfaction could not have been arrived at by Dr. Sunil Mittal by just listening on the phone (or by a WhatsApp message) to the diagnosis of some other doctor, even though such doctor was a qualified mental health practitioner.”

 “If there is no code of ethics for psychiatrists in this country, it would be indeed a serious lacuna which ought to be remedied. An aspect of this matter which is disturbing is psychiatrists being able to talk to each other on the telephone or through WhatsApp messages to decide whether a patient requires treatment as envisaged. This again is totally unacceptable. It is illegal and has implications of unconstitutionality. A professional psychiatrist requires personal interaction with a person before making a diagnosis of such person‘s mental condition. It is inconceivable that a psychiatrist can determine the mental state of a person by merely discussing the symptoms and conditions with another fellow psychiatrist over the telephone. If this practice is being followed then it has to be stopped. A code of ethics must be formulated in this regard”.

The bench also noted that, “The two medical certificates issued on 11th June 2017 were in a pre-printed proforma. This cannot be accepted as a valid compliance with the requirement of Section 19 (2) MHA given the serious nature of the consequences that would ensue taking away the liberty of the person forcibly hospitalised in a mental health institution”.

 “On the contrary, CIMBS appears to be using a standard pre-printed form consisting of thirteen pages without bothering to find out whether Z was in a position to express her willingness. It was presumed that she was not in a position to give her consent and signatures were taken of her father on all thirteen pages. In fact, the application submitted by Z‘s father was not in accordance with Form-8 under Rule 25 of the SMH Rules. It was also not witnessed by two persons, as required by the Rule.”

 “Apart from dispensing with the requirement of the certificates, the CIMBS appears to have ignored the requirement of Section 19 (2) MHA whereby two certificates were required for having a patient admitted as an in-patient. In the present case, the certificates are all by the in-house doctors of CIMBS, not one of them was a practitioner in government service,” said the bench.

It is to be noted that Z’s music teacher lodged a complaint of abduction with local police but sub-inspector Yogesh Kumar and Head Constable Praveen failed to act promptly.

They then moved high court by way of the instant writ of habeas corpus and pursuant to the orders passed on 12th June 2017, Z was produced before the court on 13th June 2017 and returned to the Petitioners’ residence.

The final judgement has been pronounced in this writ petition in deciding which the court was assisted by advocate Raj Shekhar Rao as Amicus Curiae.

In delivering the verdict, the court interpreted relevant provisions of the Mental Health Act, 1987 in light of the right to life, liberty, dignity and in light of the right to privacy and autonomy of an adult female, as guaranteed in the Constitution of India.

Constitutional dimension of the right of choice.

Before arriving at a conclusion, the bench discussed the broad issue of Constitutional dimension of the right of choice.

It noted that on the date of the incident, i.e. 11th June 2017, Z was more than 23 years old.

Referring to Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India (privacy judgement),  the bench noted the apex court’s views on decisional privacy‘ reflected by an ability to make decisions in respect of intimate relations which  would include the right to specify whom to include and whom to exclude from one’s circle.

Violation of one‘s rights could be by state or non-state actors.

The obligation to respect one‘s rights is placed both on state and non-state actors.

The high court noted that in Privacy judgement, Justice S.A. Bobde had noted that ―common law rights are horizontal in their operation when they are violated by one‘s fellow man and ―he can be named and proceeded against in an ordinary Court of law. The position is no different under the Constitution of India.

 “…Articles 15 (2), 17, 19, 21 and 23 acknowledge the horizontal nature of those fundamental rights. They can be enforced against not just the State but non-state actors as well. The mere fact that the enforcement of such rights might depend on State action or enforcement of judicial orders by the State will not detract from their horizontal nature. The horizontal dimension of these rights enables an aggrieved person to invoke constitutional remedies to seek the protection and enforcement of such rights against invasion by a non-state actor,” it said.

Scope of a habeas corpus petition

The bench held that the writ jurisdiction of a High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is invoked not only for assertion of the rights to life, liberty and a variety of fundamental rights against invasive State action but also against invasive action by non-State actors, including individuals.

“Increasingly, in the habeas corpus jurisdiction, this Court is approached by a large number of individuals and married couples praying for protection against invasion of their rights to life and liberty and choice by close relatives and other non-State actors. Much of the exercise in the habeas corpus jurisdiction by a writ Court is to forge remedies and shape reliefs for which persons whose rights of choice and, therefore, of life, liberty, and dignity are under constant threat from their own family members.”

The bench referred to SC verdict in Hadiya’s case wherein it was observed that, “The (Kerala) High Court has lost sight of the fact that she is a major, capable of taking her own decisions and is entitled to the right recognised by the Constitution to lead her life exactly as she pleases. The concern of this Court in intervening in this matter is as much about the miscarriage of justice that has resulted in the High Court as much as about the paternalism which underlies the approach to constitutional interpretation reflected in the judgment in appeal. The superior courts, when they exercise their jurisdiction parens patriae do so in the case of persons who are incapable of asserting a free will such as minors or persons of unsound mind. The exercise of that jurisdiction should not transgress into the area of determining the suitability of partners to a marital tie. That decision rests exclusively with the individuals themselves”.

It also referred to Gian Devi v Superintendent, Nari Niketan, Delhi (1976) where the Supreme Court held that once a woman was 18 years of age, no fetters could be placed on an individual‘s choice on where and with whom she wished to reside.

On role of Z’s parents, the high court concluded that they were not acting in their daughter’s best interest.

“In the Court‘s view, actions of Z‘s parents which were carried out with the aid of the local police, the staff of Almas, and the staff of CIMBS were in clear violation of Z‘s fundamental rights to life, liberty and the right to dignity enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. This violation of her rights was triggered by her exercising her freedom of choice as a female adult by choosing whom she wanted to stay with. The Court, therefore, rejects the plea of Z‘s parents that they acted in the larger interests of the daughter and in consideration of her well-being since their actions indicate the opposite,” said the bench.

Shockingly, the bench came across a two-decade old judgement of the Supreme Court wherein CIMBS incharge Dr Sunil Mittal had given a certificate for a woman’s admission to the mental hospital without even seeing the patient or examining her. The woman in that case was being harassed by her husband.

On role of the ambulance Almas, the court noted that its Dr. Israul Haque was not an allopath and held a degree in Ayurvedic medicine. The court was disturbed on learning that the ambulance run by Almas is registered in Haryana but does not satisfy the requirements of the guidelines for running such ambulance in Haryana and therefore, operates in Delhi.

“The manner in which the ambulance staff has been used to forcibly take Z away from the home of the Petitioners is illegal and unconstitutional. They have all been party to depriving Z of her liberty and virtually rendering her into the custody of the hospital without her consent. Almas has to be restrained from offering this type of ambulance services,” the court noted.

Summary of court’s conclusion and directions:

  1. Protection against an attack on the right of life, liberty, privacy and dignity can be sought not only against the State but also against non-State actors. Article 21 places an obligation both on state and non-state actors not to deprive a person of life, liberty, privacy and dignity except in accordance with the procedure established by law. In other words Articles 15 (2), 17, 19, 21 and 23 acknowledge the horizontal nature of those fundamental rights. They can be enforced against not just the State but non-state actors as well.
  2. In a habeas corpus petition when the plea before the Court is that a person should be protected against coercive retributive action of her parents, for making personal life choices, the Court shall not hesitate to exercise its jurisdiction to grant relief. In effect, the Court would be recognizing that the threat to the right of choice‘ of a person and thereby right to life, liberty, privacy and dignity can very well come from the person‘s own parents irrespective of the age and gender of such person.
  3. The actions of Z‘s parents in removing her forcibly from the Petitioners‘ residence and getting her admitted without her consent to the CIMBS on 11th June 2017, with the aid of the local police, the staff of Almas, and the staff of CIMBS, was in clear violation of Z‘s fundamental rights to life, liberty and the right to dignity enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. This violation of her rights was triggered by her exercising her freedom of choice as a female adult by choosing to leave her home, and deciding where she would like to reside. The Court rejects the plea of Z‘s parents that they acted in the larger interests of their daughter and in consideration of her well-being since their actions indicate the opposite.
  4. The procedure for involuntary admission under Section 19 MHA is only applicable when the person has been found to be mentally ill as required by law and a satisfaction has been reached to that end. Admitting a person under Section 19 MHA merely for observation cannot be countenanced as doing so would be in violation of a person‘s rights to life, liberty and dignity granted under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  5. Section 19 (1) read with Section 19 (2) of the MHA mandates that the medical officer in-charge has to record two kinds of satisfaction – first, in terms of Section 19 (1) of the MHA, the satisfaction that it is in the interest of the medically ill person that they necessarily be admitted to a mental health institution; and second, the satisfaction in terms of the proviso to Section 19 (2) of the MHA that it is proper to cause such mentally ill person to be examined by two medical practitioners working in the hospital itself instead of requiring the two certificates as provided under Section 19 (2) of the MHA. The medical officer in-charge cannot delegate this crucial function of the recording of the satisfaction of two separate kinds to some other person.
  6. In the present case, the satisfaction for the purposes of Section 19 (1) MHA could not have been arrived at by Dr. Sunil Mittal by just listening to his colleagues on the phone (or by a WhatsApp message). Such satisfaction could have been arrived at by Dr. Sunil Mittal only after interacting with Z. Clearly that interaction did not take place in the present case.
  7. A person cannot be admitted to a mental health institution in order to determine whether she requires such admission. The determination that she requires admission should be prior to her admission and not later. The involuntary admission of Z to the CIMBS at 7.55 pm on 11th June 2017 was, therefore, in clear violation of the requirement of Section 19 (1) MHA read with Section 19 (2) MHA
  8. A professional psychiatrist requires personal interaction with a person before making a diagnosis of such person‘s mental condition. A psychiatrist cannot determine a mental state of a person by merely discussing the symptoms and conditions with another fellow psychiatrist over the telephone. To do so is illegal and unconstitutional.
  9. The MCI should formulate a separate code of ethics for psychiatrists to follow, which will reinforce the law.
  10. The practice adopted in the present case by Dr. Sunil Mittal, Dr. Raj Mishra, and Dr. Sameer Kalani was in breach of the law, professional medical ethics and norms. The question as to what action is to be taken against them is left to the MCI to decide. MCI will take note of this being the second known instance in twenty years of violation of the law and ethics by Dr. Sunil Mittal and the Delhi Psychiatry Centre
  11. Z is permitted to file a formal complaint with the MCI relying upon the affidavits and records submitted by CIMBS in this matter. If such complaint is filed, it is expected that the MCI will deal with it promptly and render a decision not later than six months from the date of receiving such complaint.
  12. The Almas ambulance staff grossly neglected the duty of care owed to Z. They proceeded to abet the abduction of Z and administered drugs to her by injection in the absence of any medical records and on the mere say so of Z‘s family. This is a fit case for revocation of the registration of Almas as an ambulance company if it is so registered and stopping their further functions.
  13. Almas and its team have been party to depriving Z of her liberty and virtually rendering her into the custody of the hospital without her consent. Almas has to be restrained from offering any type of ambulance services. A peremptory direction is issued to the Government of NCT of Delhi to take action in regard to Almas and other ambulances, on being checked, which have been registered in states outside the NCT of Delhi but are operating in Delhi with impunity and in violation of the applicable guidelines.
  14. The police has abetted the flagrant violation of Z‘s fundamental rights to life, liberty, privacy and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution. A full-fledged inquiry be conducted by the police into the roles of SI Yogesh Kumar and HC Praveen in this entire matter.
  15. Further, on the aspect of violations of the MHA, the Delhi Police appears to have left it to the Secretary (Health) GNCTD who is apparently enquiring into the matter. The Court directs the Secretary (Health) GNCTD to share with the Delhi Police within four weeks the report of such enquiry and for the Delhi Police to take further action in accordance with law in terms of such report.
  16. The Delhi Police shall prepare a manual detailing how to deal with cases under the MHA and, after 8th July 2018, the Mental Healthcare Act 2017. It must prepare a protocol in consultation with legal experts as well as experts in mental healthcare and spread awareness on the issue of mental health.
  17. The Central and State Mental Health Authorities must, in collaboration with the Delhi Judicial Academy, hold programmes on periodic basis with civil society groups, Resident‘s Welfare Associations, Police Officers, lawyers and Judges to sensitize them about the various compliances under the MHA and its successor the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 and how to treat persons who are sought to be governed by the said legislation.
  18. Z will be paid compensation as follows: Rs. 3 lakhs by CIMBS; Rs. 1 lakh each by Almas and the State and Rs. 3 lakhs by her parents. The compensation amounts will be paid by demand draft in Z‘s name (which has been withheld in this judgment for reasons of privacy) within four weeks from today and will be deposited by Z in her own account. Z will be free to utilize the amount in whichever way she deems fit. This will not preclude Z from seeking appropriate remedies in other proceedings in accordance with law.
  19. Z‘s parents and brother will be continued to be bound down by their affidavits of undertaking to this Court that they will not come in the way of Z‘s peaceful existence and choices

 

 

 

Read the Judgment Here http://www.livelaw.in/landmark-verdict-delhi-hc-asks-parents-compensate-daughter-violating-right-choice-detaining-mental-hospital-read-judgment/

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5 Months After Thalassemia Major Medico Moved SC, MCI Amends Regulation For PG Courses To Bring It In Sync With Disability Act, 2016

New regulations provide 5% reservation for 21 disabilities

Five months after a medico suffering from thalassemia major moved the Supreme Court for want of a disability certificate for quota in admission to postgraduate course, the Medical Council of India has amended its “Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000” bringing them in sync with the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 providing for higher reservation for 21 benchmark disabilities.

The amended Regulations i.e., Postgraduate Medical Education (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 were notified in the Gazette on April 5.

The amended Regulation 9 on ‘Procedure for Selection of Candidate for Postgraduate courses’, now provides that “5% seats of annual sanctioned intake capacity shall be filled up by persons with benchmark disabilities in accordance with the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, based on the merit list of National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test for admission to Postgraduate Medical Courses”.

Prior to the amendment, the MCI provided for mere 3 per cent reservation that too for persons with only locomotor disability. These Regulations remained in force even as the Centre had in December, 2016 brought in the Disability Act, 2016 which came into effect from April 19, 2017 and enhanced the reservation from 3 to 5 per cent that too for persons with benchmark disabilities and not just locomotor.

The 2016 Act recognises 21 disabilities as against merely 7 recognised by the 1995 Act. Thalassemia is also included in the list in the 2016 Act.

It is to be noted that in November, 2017, 22-year-old Rohan Jobaputra from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, had come to the Supreme Court though advocate Govind Jee challenging Regulation 9 of the Post Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 framed by the Medical Council of India since it was not in tune with Section 32 of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Rohan suffers from thalassemia major and due to MCI failing to adopt the ameliorative provisions of the Disability Act, 2016, which not only provided for 5% reservation but also covered thalassemia as a benchmark disability, was not able to apply within quota for post-graduate courses.

In the instant case, Rohan has completed MBBS course from BJ Medical College, Ahmedabad. Having duly qualified the medical post-graduation examination for the academic year 2018-2019 and hence eligible for counseling in all India and State quota, he applied for medical PG examination for the academic year 2018- 2019 under the PH category but was not issued a certificate since the authorities concerned did not follow the 2016 Act.

Advocate Govind Jee also submitted that the “National Board of Examination (NBE) issued Information Bulletin for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Post Graduate) for admission to MD/ MS/ Post Graduate Diploma Courses for the academic year 2018 wherein Clause 14.7 (e) provides for 3 percent horizontal reservation for physically Challenged Persons with locomotor disability”.

He had last year argued for Rohan that even as Section 32 of the Disability Act, 2016 provides for 5% reservation for people with benchmark disabilities, the MCI Regulations “do not recognize the ameliorative measures provided under the Disability Act, 2016 (particularly section 32 of the Act and additional classes of disability- like Thalassemia etc.) and the interpretation given to the said enactment (Disability Act, 2016) by this court”.

It is to be noted that on January 30, 2018, the Supreme Court had disposed of Rohan’s petition after the MCI submitted in court that the Notification for inclusion of requisite categories in disabilities has already been sent for publication and in the list of diseases ‘thalassemia’ is also going to be notified under the Act of 2016.

MCI had further stated that the concerned authorities have to issue requisite certificate, once notification is issued by the MCI and consequently, Rohan’s case and that of others suffering from thalassemia is going to be considered for admission to be made for the academic year 2018-19.

In the meantime, Rohan did compulsory internship with the Civil Hospital, Ahmedbad in March, 2018 but on March 13, 2018, the Gujarat government brought in Gujarat Professional Post-Graduate Medical Educational Courses (Regulations of Admission) Rules, 2018 which follows the Old Act, 1995 and has not incorporated the provisions of the Disability Act, 2016.

This forced Rohan to once again knock the doors of the Supreme Court seeking compliance of the submission taken on record in January.

Govind Jee said Rohan met and requested the officials of Departments concerned for issuance of disability certificate in terms of the provisions of the Disability Act, 2016 and to admit him under the quota as prescribed under the Disability Act, 2016 but in vain.

Before his application could be listed for hearing, the MCI notified the amended regulations putting an end to to troubles of many like Rohan.

 

 

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Mumbai – Almost all deaf and mute girls at Karjat School sexually abused , caretaker arrested

Almost all deaf and mute girls at Karjat school sexually abused

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Say police, as chilling details of caretaker’s dastardly crimes emerge
  • He also shot photos of boarders bathing
  • The police are in the process of recording the statements of more students
The two rape complaints against the caretaker of a Karjat boarding school for children with speech and hearing disabilities were just the tip of the iceberg. Investigation into the case, which was registered on March 30 based on a complaint from the mother of a student, has unearthed more instances of alleged sexual assault.

The police are in the process of recording the statements of more students. “We have so far recorded the statements of seven girls. They are all in the age group of 6 to 13,” said Sunita Tanawade, senior inspector of Karjat police station.

The police have roped in a sign language interpreter from Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities to help with the investigation.

Statements recorded

On Wednesday, the statements of two victims named in the case, their mothers and one witness — a school employee — were recorded under Section 164 of CrPC.

The girls are able to communicate everything through sign language. Recording one statement takes about three hours as the interpreter first understands them and then tells us. With more victims coming forward, we will add their names to the case. Almost every girl [at the school] was molested.
-Sunita Tanawade, senior inspector of Karjat police station

“The girls are able to communicate everything through sign language. Recording one statement takes about three hours as the interpreter first understands them and then tells us. With more victims coming forward, we will add their names to the case. Almost every girl [at the school] was molested,” said Tanawade. As per the police, the caretaker assaulted students on several occasions.

A few days ago, the two victims named in the case — aged 7 and 10 — were able to pick out the caretaker from an identification parade, the police said.

Proof of vaginal, anal rape

The probe has revealed that the caretaker had vaginal penetrative as well as anal intercourse with the students. The police said he even recorded the girls having a bath or attending to the call of nature as the bathrooms did not have windowpanes.

The police said medical examination of the younger victim showed injuries to the hymen.

The school has 40 students, but only eight girls and nine boys stayed as boarders. Students on the rolls are from nearby villages of Karjat and a little farther away. Most parents work as domestic help. They kept the children at the boarding school and took them home on weekends and holidays.

The police also spoke to the boys, who said the caretaker would misbehave in a drunken state and beat them up. On March 27, he allegedly beat up all the students.

The accused is the nephew of the couple who run the school.

The sexual abuse came to light when students went home during the long weekend, starting March 28. The last sexual assault was on March 27. On March 30, the police registered a case under sections 376(2) (rape in the custody of a public servant), 377 (unnatural rape), 354 (molestation) of the IPC, and relevant sections of the POCSO Act as well as the Juvenile Justice Act. He was arrested and sent to judicial custody. The principal and the superintendent of the school were also subsequently arrested, but got bail.

The government-aided school receives grants from the social justice department.

——————————————————————————————-

HAD NO IDEA: SCHOOL OFFICIALS

The couple who run the school said they had no idea of any assault taking place at the school.

“No girl confided in me. Had I known something like this was happening, I would have immediately taken action,” the principal said.

She said the sole woman staff who stayed with the girls at night was on leave from March 9-13. She resumed work thereafter.

Asked about open toilets and bathrooms, she said, “We have put cardboard covers now.”

Her husband, the school superintendent, said, “We only learnt about the case on March 30 when we were called to the police station.”

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/cover-story/almost-all-deaf-and-mute-girls-at-karjat-school-sexually-abused/articleshow/63721841.cms

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