RPWD Amendment feedback by 10 June 2020

7 organisations alone received the inaccessible letter OCRed below along with proposed amendments and appendices. (Which is itself outrageous in terms of representation.)

Subsequently it was discovered that there is an undated entry under the What’s New section of the DEPWdD website titled ‘Decriminalisation of Minor Offences for Improving Business Sentiment and Unclogging Court Processes Amendment in Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act,2016 with a Word Document linked : http://disabilityaffairs.gov.in/content/Decriminalisation.docx

The same is attached as a PDF along with the image of the invitation letter to the chosen 7 seeking comments. Text is as follows:

File No. 34-02/2019-DD-III

Government of India

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)

Antyodaya Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

Dated June, 2020

To

1. National Federation of Blind

2. National Association of Blind

3. National Association of Deaf

4. National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People

5. Action for Autism

6. Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust

7. Indian Joint Organisation of Blind

Subject: Decriminalisation of Minor Offences for Improving Business

Sentiment and Unclogging Court Processes – Amendment in RPwD

Act, 2016 inviting observations/suggestions/comments reg.

Madam/Sir,

I am directed to say that the decriminalization of minor offences is one of the

thrust areas of the Government. Criminal penalties including imprisonment for

minor offences act as deterrents and this is perceived as one of the major reasons

impacting investments from both domestic and foreign investors. Further, given

the nature of pendency in Courts at all levels and the time taken for resolution of

disputes, legislative matters are required to be considered to restore thrust in

doing business.

2. In light of the above, the Department has reviewed the provisions of the

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 to identify the provisions for the

purpose of decriminialization with respect to minor offences. Accordingly, the

Department intends to incorporate amendment in the RPwD Act to provide for

composition of offences under Sections 89, 92 and 93 of the said Act as at

Annexure I.

3. You are requested to give their comments/suggestions/objections to the

proposal at Annexure I as per pro-forma at Annexure II by email kvs.rao13@nic.in

latest by 10.07.2020.

Yours faithfully

(KVS Rao)

Director

011- 24369054

Enclosed: As Above

Decriminalisation.pdf

Kerala High Court passes landmark judgement on therapy centres

The Desi DISpatch has shared a OneDrive file with you. To view it, click the link below.
dc-pdf_20.png 20200122-Kerala PIL-WP 15436 OF 2017- Therapy Centre Regulation-Togeth We Can.pdf

March 9, 2020

9-Mar-2020

The Kerala High Court has passed a comprehensive judgement regarding therapy centres for children with disabilities in the state with timelines set. This comes after a prolonged campaign by parents support group TogetherWeCan which has been advocating for closer monitoring and supervision of therapy centres.

A sustained five-year campaign is finally seeing results. In a landmark judgement, one that will hopefully lead to similar efforts across India, the Kerala High Court has given clear, comprehensive orders regarding therapy centres for children with disabilities in the state.

5-year-long campaign by parents & professionals

This is the fallout of a sustained campaign by by parents and professionals under the banner Together We Can (TWC), who have been pushing for regulation of these therapy centres, both private and government-run.

The court has now said:

  • Regulations for running therapy centres must be notified within 10 days.
  • The state government will establish model therapy centres across districts that are affordable, accessible, adequate and appropriate. They must be managed by competent professionals.
  • All centres in Kerala would have to be registered within four months.
  • The sum of over 3.5 crore rupees allocated by the government towards this must be used only for this purpose.

This is a big step, one that will empower parents of disabled children. Seema Lal, Co-founder, TogetherWeCan, hopes this will motivate parents to speak up for the rights due to them and their children.

For any change to happen things have to change at the policy level. It’s time we all take accountability and responsibility of raising children to become as competent, compassionate and productive members of society who can lead meaningful lives in a healthy interdependence with the community around. – Seema Lal, Co-founder, TogetherWeCan

This is just the initial steps and clearly there is a long way to go before the process gets going. But the fact that it has come this far will surely be a motivating factor. Over the last few years there have been numerous instances of abuse and mismanagement reported at therapy centres for children with disabilities around the country. This news from Kerala will hopefully encourage parents groups in other states to initiate similar steps.

newzhook.com/story/kerala-high-court-therapy-centres-disabled-autistic-togetherwecan/

Hans Foundation report on long stay residents of Govt Mental Hospitals is out – View and download link provided.

36% patients in mental health facilities stay over a year — way above ‘6-week requirement’


Hans Foundation survey finds 93.5% mental health patients never stepped out of hospital, 86.5% never had a visitor, 94.8% never visited anyone out of the hospital.

SIMRIN SIRUR

31 October, 2019

New Delhi: A new survey of 43 mental health hospitals across India has found that 36.25% of their patients have been residing in the facilities for a year or longer.

The figure is way above the averages of the South East Asian region (11 per cent) and world (18 per cent).

While the survey, titled the National Strategy for Inclusive and Community Based Living for Persons with Mental Health Issues, takes the one-year mark is an operational definition, its findings say a large number of the patients surveyed had spent over a quarter of a century in the mental health institutions.

Stigma, homelessness, no source of income or support system, gender disadvantages — there are several factors that are said to make the patients’ stay at mental health facilities in India much longer than required.

According to Dr B.N. Gangadhar, Director of NIMHANS who was on the task force of the study, most patients admitted to mental health facilities are usually fit for discharge within four to six weeks. “Hospitals and doctors don’t want to keep patients for a long time. Patients end up staying because they’ve been abandoned or have no other place to go.”

Dr Gangadhar added, “Treatment should continue after discharge. It’s not necessary for the patient to be in the hospital to receive treatment.”

The survey aims to evolve a national strategy that can help move this group of people out of these facilities and back into the mainstream.

“Currently, available options for long term care outside psychiatric hospitals are mostly limited to institutional set ups run by state and non state actors,” says the report, adding, “In the last decade, India has seen some movement towards de-institutionalisation. But these are in small measures, mostly individual endeavours, and far from the holistic, community based support services in true spirit and form.”

Long-term ‘patients’ are mostly women

Of the 13,610 patients surveyed, nearly 5,000 had been staying in mental health facilities for over a year, and 54.3 per cent of them were women.

“Women face a lot of gender-based disadvantages. If there’s a relational disruption, with their families or partners, women are left with no social capital or network after that. People are not very supportive of women when they develop a mental health issue,” said Lakshmi Narasimhan, head of the Centre for Mental Health and Inclusive Development, and contributor to the paper.

The survey was conducted by the Hans Foundation in partnership with NIMHANS, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and several civil society organisations on directives issued by the ministries of health & family welfare and social justice & empowerment.

It terms long stays as “one of the most profound manifestations of social exclusion of people with mental illness” where they are “segregated and removed from the outside world”.

The rate of isolation among in-house psychiatric patients in India is high — 93.5 per cent of the participants hadn’t stepped out of the institution during their stay, 86.5 per cent had never had a visitor, and 94.8 per cent had never visited anyone out of the hospital.

“A majority of these wards (77.1 per cent) are closed, which means patients cannot leave their locked wards or spend any time outside the ward. There’s truly no need to have closed ward systems, because you could inherit secondary deficits which could affect mental health further,” Narasimhan said.

While nearly 50 per cent of long-term residents lived in institutions for between one and five years, the report found that 11.4 per cent had been there for over a quarter of a century. “…in effect a better part of their lives had been spent within the confines of these facilities,” said the report.

Step towards national strategy for reintegration

Long-term stays in mental health facilities in India are driven by multiple factors, including stigma, homelessness, resource and policy deficits for possible discharge, and histories of caste, class, and gender disadvantages.

Even with high numbers occupying mental health hospital beds for the long term, most — 78.6 per cent — are said to have “none to moderate” problems while transitioning to community placement among their families or other supportive environments like group homes.

“Governments need to increase financial investment defined by a policy and accompanying the National Scheme for Personal Assistance and Housing Options to promote community living for people with long-term care needs,” says the report.

The study recommends imagining and implementing a community care system to facilitate de-institutionalisation, aided by state and national committees under the Ministry of Family Health and Welfare. These committees are to function as “a stakeholder collective to pursue shared visions of moving from long term institutionalisation to community based alternatives”.

The community care system should “keep pace with supports needed when people move out of hospitals, and decisively alter progressions and re-entry into homelessness and long term institutionalisation”, says the report.

https://theprint.in/health/36-patients-in-mental-health-facilities-stay-over-a-year-way-above-6-week-requirement/312989/

VIEW & DOWNLOAD REPORT (80 mb PDF) at https://mentalhealthwatchindia.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/report-on-long-stay-residents-in-mental-institutions-in-india-2018-19

HC suggests amending pension rules for dismissals arising from mental illness

Nov 26, 2018

Madurai: The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court dismissed a petition seeking to regularise a 13-year period of absence from work owing to treatment for schizophrenia as special disability leave and sanction all terminal benefits and family pension considering his overall experience.

The court however suggested that the government can take steps to amend the pension rules in order to look into cases wherein employees have been disqualified on account of mental illness. It said that the government can consider the period of service rendered prior to dismissal and after reinstatement for granting pension benefits.

The petitioner, U Valarmathi’s husband R Ulaganathan was employed as an office assistant in a college in Arupukottai. He had joined work in 1976 and availed medical leave in May 1991 to treat his illness.

Since he was not cured of his illness, he couldn’t join duty immediately and he was subsequently terminated from service, the petitioner stated.

In 2003, Ulaganathan moved the court and sought positive directions to reinstate him into service after, which he joined back as office assistant in the same college in January 2004. He was promoted to lab assistant in 2013 and retired from service a year later, petitioner added.

However, the education department authorities rejected his application to consider the period of absence as special disability leave and informed that he would be considered as fresh entrant and his pension benefits will be calculated accordingly.

When he appealed against the higher educational department’s order, the joint director of collegiate education filed a counter stating that according to Tamil Nadu pension rules, if a person is dismissed or removed from service, then the past service would be forfeited.

Also, since there was no appeal on the earlier order, the order was final. It was also pointed out to the court that leave on loss of pay should not exceed 24 months and in this case the person was not in employment for 13 years.

http://www.timesofindia.com/city/madurai/hc-suggests-amending-pension-rules-for-dismissals-arising-from-mental-illness/articleshow/66800966.cms

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

16-May-2018

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

Source : http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179319

More information at this link :

http://disabilityaffairs.gov.in/content/viewpage/draft-efc-memo-on-establishment-of-national-institute-of-mental-health-rehabilitation–bhopal.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Haryana Government has issued instructions with regard to reservation for persons with disabilities in posts and services under the State

prharyana.gov.in/pa/node/23907

Chandigarh, April 25 2018 :

The Haryana Government has issued instructions with regard to reservation for persons with disabilities in posts and services under the State. If the guidelines contained in this instruction come in conflict with the provisions of any other instructions issued by the General Administration department on this subject, the same shall be deemed to be modified to the extent provided herein.

A) QUANTUM OF RESERVATION:

Four percent of the posts/cadre in case of direct recruitment to Group A, B, C&D posts/services shall be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities of which one per-cent each shall be reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities detailed below as a), b) & c) and one per-cent for persons with benchmark disabilities under clauses d) and e):

  1. blindness and low vision;
  2. deaf and hard of hearing;
  3. locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy;
  4. autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  5. multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness in the posts identified for each disabilities.

B) EXEMPTION FROM RESERVATION:

Any Department, in consultation with the State Commissioner, may, having regard to the type of work carried out in any Government Department, by notification and subject to such condition, if any, as may be specified in such notifications exempt any Government establishment from providing reservation to persons with benchmark disabilities.

C) IDENTIFICATION OF JOBS/POSTS AND ANNUAL REPORT:-

Every Government Department shall (i) identify posts in the Departments which can be held by respective category of persons with benchmark disabilities in respect of the vacancies reserved in accordance with para-2 above; (ii) constitute an expert committee with representation of persons with benchmark disabilities for identification of such posts; and (iii) undertake periodic review of the identified posts at an interval not exceeding three years.

Every appointing authority/Department shall send annual report regarding representation of Persons with Disabilities, showing position as on first of January every year to the Social Justice and Empowerment Department who will compile the data being the Nodal Department.

D) RESERVATION IN POSTS IDENTIFIED FOR ONE OR TWO CATEGORIES

If a post is identified suitable only for one category of disability, reservation in that post shall be given to persons with that disability only. Reservation of 4% shall not be reduced in such cases and total reservation in the post will be given to persons suffering from the disability for which it has been identified. Likewise in case the post is identified suitable for two categories of disabilities, reservation shall be distributed between persons with those categories of disabilities equally, as far as possible.

E) APPOINTMENT AGAINST UNRESERVED VACANCIES:

In the posts which are identified suitable for persons with disabilities, a person with disability cannot be denied the right to compete for appointment against an unreserved vacancy. Thus, a person with disability can be appointed against an unreserved vacancy, provided the post is identified suitable for persons with disabilities of the relevant category. The provision of identification of posts does not in any way debar or preclude a person with benchmark disabilities from applying and competing for any unreserved post subject to his/her eligibility and clearing the written test/interview successfully, without any relaxation.

F) DEFINITION OF DISABILITIES

Definitions of categories of benchmark disabilities for the purpose of this Office Memorandum are as per Annexure-A, appended to this O.M

G) DEGREE OF DISABILITY FOR RESERVATION:

Only such persons would be eligible for reservation in services/posts who suffer from not less than 40 per cent of the relevant disability. A person who wants to avail benefit of reservation would have to submit a Disability Certificate issued by a competent authority. At the time of initial appointment against a vacancy reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities4 the appointing authority shall ensure that the candidate is eligible to get the benefit of reservation.

H) COMPUTATION OF RESERVATION:

In view of directions of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the matter of Civil Appeal No.9096 of 2013 (arising out of SLP (C) No.7541 of 2009) titled as Union of India & I/tar. Vs. National Federation of Blind & Ors, reservation for persons with disabilities in case of direct recruitment to Group A, B, C and D posts/ services, shall be computed on the basis of total number of posts in the cadre minus existing PWD strength.

I) NON-DISCRIMINATION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT;

i) No Government Department shall discriminate against any person with disability in any matter relating to employment Provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type .of work carried on in any Department, by notification and subject to such conditions if any exempt any Department from the provisions of this section.

ii) No promotion shall be denied to a person merely on the ground of disability.

iii) No Government Department shall dispense with or reduce in rank, an employee who acquires a disability during his/her service. Provided that, if an employee after acquiring disability is not suitable for the post he was holding, shall be shifted to some other post with the same pay scale and service benefits. Provided further that if it is not possible to adjust the employee against any post, he may be kept on a supernumerary post until a suitable post is available or he attains the age of superannuation, whichever is earlier.

J) RELAXATION IN AGE LIMIT

1) Upper age limit for persons with disabilities shall be relax able (a) by ten years (15 years for SCs/BCs) in case of direct, recruitment to Group "C’ and D’ posts (b) by 5 years (10 years for SCs/BCs) in case of direct recruitment to Group ‘A and Group ‘B’ posts where recruitment is made otherwise than through open competitive examination and (c) by ten years (15 years for SCs/BCs) in case of direct recruitment to Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ posts through open competitive examination. ii) Relaxation in age limit shall he applicable irrespective of the fact whether the post is reserved or not, provided the post is identified suitable for persons with disabilities.

K) EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF EXAMINATION FEE AND APPLICATION FEE:

Persons with disabilities shall, exempted from payment of application fee and examination fee, prescribed in res :a7 of competitive examinations held by the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC), the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) etc. for recruitment to various posts. This exemption shall be available only to such persons who would otherwise be eligible for appointment to the post on the basis of standards of medical fitness prescribed for that post (including any concession specifically extended to the disabled persons) and who enclose with the application form, necessary certificate from a competent authority in support of their claim of disability.

L) HORIZONTALITY OF RESERVATION FOR PERSONS WITH BENCHMARK DISABILITIES:

(i) Reservation for Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes is called vertical reservation and the reservation for categories such as persons with benchmark disabilities etc. is called horizontal reservation. The horizontal reservation cuts across vertical reservation (what is called interlocking reservation) and persons selected against the quota for persons with disabilities have to be placed in the appropriate category viz. General (Un-reserved)/SC/BC candidates, depending upon the category to which they belong in the roster meant for General(Un­reserved)/SCs/BCs. To illustrate, if in a given year there are two vacancies reserved and advertised for the persons with disabilities and out of two persons with disabilities appointed, one belongs to Scheduled Caste and the other to General/Unreserved category, then the disabled SC candidate shall be adjusted against the SC point in the reservation roster and the General candidate against unreserved point in the relevant reservation roster. In case none of the vacancies falls on point reserved for the SCs, the disabled candidate belonging to SC shall be adjusted in future against the next available vacancy reserved/ earmarked for SCs in the roster.

(ii) Since the persons with benchmark disabilities have to be placed in the appropriate category viz. General (Un-reserved)/SC /BC in the roster meant for reservation of General (Un-reserved)SCs/BCs, the application form for the post should require the candidates applying under the quota reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities to indicate whether they belong to General (Un-reserved)/SC / BC category.

M) EXCHANGE AND CARRY FORWARD OF RESERVATION IN CASE OF DIRECT RECRUITMENT:

(i) Reservation for each of the four categories of persons with benchmark disabilities shall be made separately. But if the nature of vacancies in an establishment is such that a person of a specific category of disability cannot be employed, the vacancies may be interchanged among the four categories with the approval of the Social Justice & Empowerment Department and reservation may be determined and vacancies filled accordingly.

If any vacancy reserved for any category of disability cannot be filled due to non­-availability of a suitable person with that disability or, for any other sufficient reason, such vacancy shall be carried forward to the subsequent recruitment year.

In the subsequent recruitment year the carried forward vacancy shall be treated as reserved for the category of disability for which it was kept reserved in the initial year of recruitment. However, if a suitable person with that disability is not available, it may be filled by interchange among the four categories of disabilities. In case no suitable person with benchmark disabilities is available for filling up the post in the subsequent year also, the employer may fill up the vacancy by appointment of a person other than a person with disability.

N) PROTECTION TO THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BELONGING TO STATE OF HARYANA:

(i) In order to give proper weightage to the persons with disabilities of Haryana, while filling up the posts reservedfor persons with disabilities in respect of Group A, B, C and D by direct recruitment, the persons with disabilities of Haryana should only be considered eligible for applying for such resented posts under the services of State Government.

The above instructions may p1eémugjit to the notice of all concerned for strict compliance.

Annexure-‘A’

Reservation for the Persons with Benchmark Disabilities:

SPECIFIED DISABILITY

I. Physical disability:-

A Locomotor disability (a person’s inability to execute distinctive activities associated with movement of self and objects resulting from affliction of musculoskeletal or nervous system or both), including‑

a) "leprosy cured person" means a person who has been cured of leprosy but is suffering from‑

(i) loss of sensation in hands or feet as well as loss of sensation and paresis in the eye and eye-lid but with no manifest deformity

(ii) manifest deformity and paresis but having sufficient mobility in their hands and feet to enable them to engage in normal economic activity;

(iii) extreme physical deformity as well as advanced age which prevents him/her from undertaking any gainful occupation, and the expression "leprosy cured" shall construed accordingly;

b) "cerebral palsy" means a Group of non-progressive neurological condition affecting body movements and muscle coordination, caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring before,during or shortly after birth;

c) "dwarfism" means a medical or genetic condition resulting m an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches (147 centimeters) or less;

d) "muscular dystrophy" means a group of hereditary genetic muscle disease that weakens the muscles that move the human body and persons with multiple dystrophy have incorrect and missing information in their genes, which prevents them from making the proteins they need for healthy muscles. It is characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue;

e) "acid attack victim? means a person disfigured due to violent assaults by throwing of acid or similarcorrosive substance.

B Visual impairment

(a) "blindness" means a condition where a person has any of the following conditions, alter best correction‑

i) total absence of sight; or

ii) visual acuity less than 3/60 or less than T0/200 (Snellen) in the better eye with best possible correction; or

iii) limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of less than 10 degree.

(b) "low-vision" means a condition where a person has any of the following conditions, namely:‑

(1) visual acuity not exceeding 6/18 or less than 20/60 upto 3/60 or upto 10/200 (Snellen) in the better eye with best possible corrections;

or

(ii) limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of less than 40 degree up to 10 degree.

C Hearing impairment:-

(a) "deaf means persons having 70 DB hearing loss in speech frequencies in both ears,

(b) "hard of hearing" means person having 60 Dl) to 70 Dl) hearing loss in speech frequencies in both ears;

D. "speech and language disability" means a permanent disability arising out of conditions such as laryngectomy or aphasia affecting one or more components of speech and language due to organic or neurological causes.

2. Intellectual disability, a condition characterized by significant limitation both in intellectual functioning (resorting, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior which covers a range of every day, social and practical skills, including‑

a) "specific learning disabilities" means a heterogeneous group of conditions wherein there is a deficit in processing language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself as a difficulty to comprehend, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations and ‘includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and developmental aphasia;

b) "autism spectrum disorder means a neuro-developmental condition typically appearing in the first date years of life that significantly affects a person’s ability to communicate, understand relationships and relate to others, and is frequently associated with unusual or stereotypical rituals or behaviors.

3. Mental behaviour:- "mental illness" means a substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behaviour, capacity to recognize reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life, but does not include retardation which is a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a ‘person, specially characterized by sub normality of intelligence.

4. Disability caused due to:‑

(a) chronic neurological conditions, such as‑

i) "multiple sclerosis" means an inflationary, nervous system disease in which the myelin sheaths around the axons of nerve cells ge4taain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and affecting the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other;

ii) "parkinson’s disease" means a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise Movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a efficiency” of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

(b) Blood disorder:-

(i) "haemophilia" means an inheritable disease, usually affecting only male but transmitted by women to their male children, characterized by or impairment of the normal clotting ability of blood so that a minor would may result in fetal bleeding:

(ii) "thalassemia" means a group of inherited disorder characterized by reduced or absent amounts of haemoglobin.

iii) "sickle cell disease means a haemolytic disorders characterized by chronic anemia, painful events, and various complications due to associated tissue and organ damage; "hemolytic" refers to the destruction of the cell membrane of red blood cells resulting in the release of hemoglobin.

5. Multiple Disabilities (more than one of the above specified disabilities) including deaf blindness which means a condition in which a person may have combination of hearing and visual impairments causing severe communication, developmental, and educational problems.

prharyana.gov.in-The Haryana Government has issued instructions with regard to reservation for persons with disabiliti.pdf

Case of chained woman in Hyderabad home for disabled exposes state of mental health care

 

[Updated till 2nd Jun]

Points to ponder – view slideshow on Storify

Woman found chained at Hyderabad rehab centre

30th May 2017

HYDERABAD: Even as Cyberabad police has launched an inquiry into the case of a 32­ year ­old woman found disrobed and chained at a rehabilitation centre in Aaram Ghar, the victim is still waiting to be moved from the centre. There are allegations that the woman was sexually assaulted by some persons, whom the victim does not recognise.

According to Mailardevpally police inspector P Jagadeeshwar, the lady, a native of Bihar, was shifted to Aaram Ghar, a rehabilitation centre in 2014, when she was spotted roaming on the streets. Meanwhile, with the plight of the woman coming to light, the Telangana State Legal Services Authority intervened and directed that she be shifted to Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) in Hyder Shah Kote. However, officials at the home are still awaiting the court order so that they can provide the necessary care.

“The issue came to our notice on Saturday night. However, we are waiting for the court order to shift the woman to KGNMT as it is a sensitive case. It seems that the woman is mentally unstable. Even to get her treated, there is a need for an order,” informed V Padmavathi, state head of KGNMT.

While officials at the rehabilitation centre claimed that she was chained only because she was going out of control, Padmavathi pointed, “The fact that she was naked is highly questionable. Even if she displays hyperactive tendencies, not clothing her is a serious offence.” She is still awaiting the court order and is expecting the victim to be shifted by 10 am on Tuesday.

The court order from the Rangareddy district Legal Services Authority (DLSA) came around 5 pm on Monday. “I have requested the home in Hyder Shah Kote to take her in. Conducting a medical check is priority to determine her mental condition,” said T Subhashini, Panel Advocate at DLSA RR.

She also added that the rehab centre did not provide the help she needed. “She was spotted in the wee hours of the night and in the emergency situation shifted to the centre. All homeless in that area are generally shifted to that home as it is reputed and also takes in people. There are 110 people currently there,” added Subhashini.

The RR DLSA also wrote to the State Legal Services Authority in Bihar.

Meanwhile, the Cyberabad Police has filed a case under Section 342 of the IPC that punishes for wrongful confinement. “We started an inquiry and the victim has shared that she was chained quite often and also repeatedly molested by someone she does not recognise. While the ayah claims that she was chained only so that she can be calmed, we are looking into the matter,” Jagadeeshwar further informed.

Section 23 of the Mental Health Act, 1987 states that every police officer in ­charge of a police station can take those found wandering at large within the limits of his station into protection, whom he has reason to believe to be mentally ill or incapable of taking care of himself. However, they should be produced before the nearest Magistrate within a period of twenty­four hours of taking him into such protection, which was not done in case of this victim

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2017/may/30/woman-found-chained-at-hyderabad-rehab-centre-1610686.html

Case of chained woman in Hyderabad home for disabled exposes state of mental health care in city

Rajitha S

31st May 2017

HYDERABAD: The case of the young woman found naked and chained at a city home for the disabled has exposed the sorry state of affairs with regard to homelessness and mental health care in Hyderabad, if not in Telangana. The young woman, aged 32 according to the police, was “rescued” from the city streets by local cops on December 6, 2014.

However, in blatant disregard to the Mental Health Act of 1987, the police failed to produce her before a magistrate ­­ the competent authority to decide whether a destitute person was in need of care and treatment ­­ within 24 hours, as stipulated by the Act.

Instead, she was admitted to a Aramghar, a home for disabled persons run by Indian Council of Social Welfare, an NGO. After her plight came to light on Monday, police filed a case of wrongful confinement against the home, and on Tuesday evening she was moved to the Centre­ run Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) facility, in Hyder Shah Kote. The Swadhar Gruha, as it is also called, is significantly overcrowded, housing 106 women against the mandated capacity of 30. Interestingly, the woman has still not been produced before a magistrate.

It remains to be seen whether she will be produced before a magistrate on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Telangana, three years after bifurcation, still does not have a State Mental Health Authority ­­ as mandated by law ­­ to oversee implementation of the 1987 Act, and now, the new 2017 Act on Mental Health.


http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2017/may/31/case-of-chained-woman-in-hyderabad-home-for-disabled-exposes-state-of-mental-health-care-in-city-1611101.html

‘No one should be left in a home or centre indefinitely’

Rajitha S

31st May 2017

HYDERABAD: Confusion prevails in the case of the Aramghar woman even after her transfer to the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust on Tuesday. First, she was sent to meet a neuropsychiatrist at Asha Hospital. “Medical check up is priority to determine her mental condition. The state in which she was discovered is shocking and questionable. The doctor will be conducting all related tests on Wednesday and her treatment and medical aid will be take care of accordingly,” said Subhashini, panel advocate at the District Legal Services Authority, Ranga Reddy district.

However, V Padmavathi, state head of KGNMT, said that as per norms, the woman will be accompanied by a counsellor and a medical check up will be conducted at the Institute of Mental Hospital. But, Subhashini stated that a doctor at the private hospital had volunteered to help in diagnosing the victim’s condition and hence the DLSA had decided to seek it as a second opinion.

The young woman, forgotten by the State for three years, will now face a surfeit of mental health assessments, while still not being presented before a magistrate.

Presence of a State Mental Health Authority, as mandated by law, may have helped matters. However, the Telangana State Mental Health Authority is yet to officially start functioning, according to Dr M Umashankar, superintendent, Institute of Mental Health. “After the state’s bifurcation in 2014, the Authority has been functioning informally as per requirement. I took charge last July and submitted a proposal. We are awaiting the government gazette for the same,” he said.

The young woman had been admitted into Aramghar after she was spotted loitering by Mailardevpally Police late in the night in 2014. Police claimed that she ‘seemed’ mentally unstable and as part of the “regular practice” she was sent to the centre. However, police officials to whom Express spoke also claim they believed that she did not have a mental health problem which is why did not follow the procedure as per the 1987 Act.

“In this particular case, at the time that she was spotted… her mental condition was not determined and hence she was only sent to the home,” said PV Padmaja, DCP, Shamshabad, adding that in other cases the police follows the procedure. She believes that once the woman was admitted to the home she became the home’s responsibility. However, why she needed to be admitted to a home, if she was not ill is unknown.

Activists are aghast. “The (1987) law states that the officer who identifies the person is responsible for putting them in a temporary home and then within the next 24 hours ensuring that he or she is produced before a magistrate who, with a medical officer, determines the person’s mental condition and accordingly prescribes care and treatment. Now that this has not been done, the victim needs to be produced in front of a magistrate at least at this stage,” stressed Vaishnavi Jayakumar, mental health and disability rights activist. No individual can be left in any home or centre indefinitely, she pointed out.

The minute we spot a person or identify someone who seems mentally unstable, we decide how they should be treated. We just believe that there is no need to respect them as individuals,” Amita Dhanda, head of Centre for Disability Studies at NALSAR, pointed out. People proceed to take decisions for the mentally unstable, with the idea that they are being noble and good, she said.

What the new law says

Under Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, if police officer has reason to believe a person in station limits has a mental illness and is being ill­-treated or neglected, he must report it to local Magistrate. The Magistrate may order the person to be taken to a public mental health facility for assessment and treatment.

Magistrate could authorise admission of the person for not more than 10 days. In the case of a homeless person, police must file a missing person’s case and try trace the family before the person is sent for assessment.


http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2017/may/31/no-one-should-be-left-in-a-home-or-centre-indefinitely-1611117–1.html

WATCH! The video that started it all

Aram Ghar case: Women and Child Welfare officials to look into state of rehab centre

02nd June 2017 07:02 AM 

HYDERABAD: Four days after the district legal services authority (DLSA), Rangareddy rescued a woman who was discovered naked and chained in the rehabilitation centre Aram Ghar, which is part of the Indian Council of Social Welfare, officials from the Women and Child Welfare Department have been deputed to observe the state of the centre and 120 others residing there.

Meanwhile, it has been two days that the victim was shifted to Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust(KGNMT) after getting diagnosed at a private hospital. According to officials, she is adjusting to her new home.

“She is eating her meals on time and also taking the prescribed medicines. She is a bit drowsy but is calm and we are observing her,” informed V Padmavathi, state in charge, KGNMT. She has been prescribed medicines for the next 15 days. After the completion of this course of medicines, she will be taken to the Institute of Mental Health just like the 47 others who are under the care of KGNMT.

Meanwhile, the women and child welfare department is awaiting a report on the rehab centre. “Based on the report, which is likely to reach me in the next two days, we will see what needs to be done with those who have been living there. We want to ensure that they are safe and secure. We will see if we they can be shifted to a better place,” informed Viziendra Boyi, director of the department.

The Cyberabad Police who registered a case on the rehab centre, under Section 342 of IPC, for wrongful confinement of the woman, said that inquiry in the case is still underway.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2017/jun/02/aram-ghar-case-women-and-child-welfare-officials-to-look-into-state-of-rehab-centre-1611951.html

Woman who was found tied up in Hyderabad rehab centre recovering, no arrests yet in the case 
Renuka was shifted from ‘Aramghar’, the home where she was left in the deplorable condition, to the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust.

June 02, 2017 – 14:55
 
HYDERABAD : Days after she was found tied up and sitting in her own excreta in a Hyderabad rehab home, Renuka, alias Rinku, is slowly recovering.

On Wednesday, Renuka was shifted from ‘Aramghar’, the home where she was left in the deplorable condition, to the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) in the city.

Speaking to The News Minute, P Padmavathi, the in-charge of KGNMT, said, “She is getting much better. She is eating food by herself, moving around, and even mingling a little bit with other inmates. However, she’s still not speaking complete sentences.”

Padmavathi also adds that the police visited Renuka along with members of the Telangana State Legal Services Authority, which had taken up the case after the media brought it to light.

“She is presently on medication which will last for another 10 days or so, after which we will consider taking her for psychiatric treatment. Since we do not want the two treatments to clash, we will wait till she is physically fit,” Padmavathi says.

When asked if there were any signs that showed violent behaviour, Padmavathi said, “She has not been giving any problem or showing any signs of violence. As soon as she was shifted, she seemed quite calm. She mostly strolls around and sleeps when she wants to.”

Padmavathi adds that Renuka still seemed slightly disturbed, as she did not make a lot of eye contact, and exhibited certain behaviour indicative of an unsound mind.

However, she has been very calm ever since she was shifted

When asked how long she will stay at the home, Padmavathi says, “Till she discloses her personal details and tells us where her family or some caretaker is, we can’t discharge her. It is tough to estimate how long it will take, as she still gives conflicting views on how many family members she has, and her background.”

“We have 47 mentally unsound women, of whom 16 are in the recovery phase, while the remaining are in a severe condition. We are continuously monitoring her and caretakers will note down when she talks. We are hoping to see more progress soon,” she added.

The police, which registered a case against Aramghar under section 342 of IPC after Renuka’s videos went viral, has not made any progress in the case.

“We have registered a case, but we can’t move forward till we record Renuka’s statement. We are waiting for her to recover, after which we will proceed further and take legal advice,” Inspector Jagadeeshwar from the Mailardevpally police station told TNM.

Meanwhile, reports add that officials from the Women and Child Welfare Department were constantly monitoring the case, and are waiting a report from Aramghar.

“Based on the report, which is likely to reach me in the next two days, we will see what needs to be done with those who have been living there. We want to ensure that they are safe and secure. We will see if we they can be shifted to a better place,” Viziendra Boyi, director of the department, told The New Indian Express.

You can read an earlier report on Renuka and all she was put through here:

Tied up, stripped, forced to sit in her own excreta: Inhuman treatment of woman at Hyd home 

StraitJacket

A beautiful mind seeks work, orders to Union Public Service Commission

27-May-2017

Neha Sharma

CHANDIGARH: A man who is IQ-wise among the top 2% in the world but now battling mental illness wants to compete for public posts reserved for this disabled category.

The petition of PEC University alumnus Himjeet Singh Bains has moved the Punjab and Haryana high court to issue a notice to the central government, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), and State Bank of India (SBI). Bains wants them to consider his candidature for civil services and banking-sector tests, in line with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.

Bains is a former winner of the National Talent Search Scheme scholarship and All-India Talent Scholarship Award sponsored by International Children’s Excellence Funds. He won awards even in classical music. The electronics and electrical communication engineering graduate from Chandigarh topped his class in 2006.
Since the first signs in 2002, his mental illness has aggravated to between 71% and 99%, as stated in a 2014 disability certificate from GMCH-32. He applied for post of probation officer in SBI, besides civil services and Indian Forest Service examinations, but online system wasn’t updated to accept form in his category. He sent the application by post but when it wasn’t considered, he moved the high court. The hearing is on June 17.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/a-beautiful-mind-seeks-work-orders-to-union-public-service-commission/articleshow/58867442.cms

A beautiful mind seeks work, orders to Union Public Service Commission – Times of India
timesofindia.indiatimes.com
A man who is IQ-wise among the top 2% in the world but now battling mental illness wants to compete for public posts reserved for this disabled category.

Delhi HC Highlights Deficiencies In Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act , Suggests Reforms [Read Judgment]

DIS-PARITY? - the word disparity formatted in a way to denote focus on parity within disability

29-Oct-2016

“Study the problems which have resulted in total exclusion and denial of persons suffering from mental illness the benefits of reservation under Section 33 of the PWD Act and also determine if the threshold of 40% under the PWD Act needs revision based on which an appropriate law could be made, or existing law amended”, said Justice Ravindra Bhat.

A Division Bench of Delhi High Court comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma on Thursday highlighted deficiencies in the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation), Act 1995, and suggested reforms to the same.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat noted such deficiencies in the provisions relating to providing reservations as well as with the common minimum threshold of 40% disability. “Whilst it is within executive domain to categorize which post can be suitable for what kind of person or persons with disability, the absolute minimum threshold of 40% in the case of certain kinds of disabilities could be the barrier – unwitting though the case may be, and eliminate from the post identification exercise persons with such disabilities altogether. This clearly has a discriminatory result, and an indirect discriminatory effect,” the Court observed.

It however, noted that it was incapable of providing judicial redress or severe the provisions. “What the court can and proposes, is to direct the respondent and the Central Government to, with the aid of appropriate subject experts in mental illness and disorders, study the problems which have resulted in total exclusion and denial of persons suffering from mental illness the benefits of reservation under Section 33 of the PWD Act and also determine if the threshold of 40% under the PWD Act needs revision based on which an appropriate law could be made, or existing law amended,” the Court concluded.

The appellant, Mr. Jadhav Vishwas Haridas had lived with acute phases of mental illness since 1996-97 until 2006. He was therefore a “person with mental impairment/disability” within the meaning of the PWD Act. In terms of the IDEA scale, the disability suffered by him was above 40%, rendering him ineligible to receive benefits in terms of reservation in employment and education.

He claimed that due to his illness, he could not be successful in employment (Central Civil Service) exams, despite appearing for the examination seven times. Post 2006, when his condition improved, he found no assistance to compensate for the time lost in combating the mental illness.

He had now challenged a Single Judge order dismissing his challenge to Section 33 of the PWD Act. Section 33 only lists i) blindness or low vision, ii) Hearing impairment and iii) Locomotor disability or cerebral palsy as the disabilities for which at least one per cent vacancies must be reserved.

Mr. Jadhav had demanded that the provision be declared unconstitutional to the extent that it excludes persons with mental illness for the purpose of job reservations. He had also brought to the notice of the Court that there was no compensatory mechanism, in terms of time lost while fighting the disability and inter alia sought other consequential reliefs. His petition was however rejected, ruling that no statutory or constitutional right of his was violated.

Responding to the challenge, the State had argued that the relief sought by the petitioner was already the subject matter of a pending legislation before the Parliament. The Single Judge had accepted these contentions and observed that the Court was not empowered to lay out a time schedule for enactment of a law or making changes in existing legislation.

While the High Court agreed with the Single Judge’s conclusions, it did not approve of the plea’s disposal without considering other reliefs demanded by the petitioner.

During the hearing, the Court noted that the Respondents were unable to shed any light on the reason for exclusion of those suffering from mental illness from the list of reserved categories entitled to reservations.

It thereafter opined that a 40% disability test to provide reservations in employment may be impracticable. “Hence it is the opinion of this Court that in a country where 26,810,557 individuals suffer from different disabilities, a one size fit all model might not be the most efficient. That 40% on the IDEA scale makes individuals more or less employable cannot be held ideal. The legislature may consider to create a model where individuals suffering from different disabilities may be recognized and given benefits in terms of education, employment, health etc. which are suitable to their individual condition. The benchmarking through the IDEA scale may have to vary depending on different disabilities,” it observed.

With regard to the penalty of bar from appearing in public employment, the Court was of the opinion that the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) may consider in its discretion the proportionality of such imposition having regard to all the facts of the case.


livelaw.in/delhi-hc-highlights-deficiencies-persons-disabilities-pwd-act-suggests-reforms/

Read the Judgment here.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

Reserved on: 03.05.2016 Pronounced on: 27.10.2016

LPA 222/2013, C.M. APPL.6087-6089/2013, 12337/2013 & 3344/2014

JADHAV VISHWAS HARIDAS …………Appellant
Through: Ms. Meenakshi Arora, Sr. Advocate with Sh. M.G. Kapoor, Sh. Raj Patil and Ms. Aditi Deshpande, Advocates.

Versus

UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION AND ORS ……..Respondents
Through: Sh. Naresh Kaushik, Advocate, for UPSC. Sh. Ajay Digpaul, CGSC with Ms. Mohita, Advocate, for UOI.

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE S. RAVINDRA BHAT HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE DEEPA SHARMA

MR. JUSTICE S. RAVINDRA BHAT

1. The appellant, in this Letters Patent Appeal is aggrieved by the judgment of a learned Single Judge, dismissing his petition W.P.(C)447/2013 under Article 226 of the Constitution of India wherein a challenge was laid to Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation), Act 1995 (“PWD Act”) as being unconstitutional to the extent that it excludes persons with mental illness for the purpose of job reservations. It was also challenged that there was no compensatory mechanism – in terms of time lost while fighting the disability and inter alia sought other consequential reliefs. The impugned judgment rejected the writ petition holding that no statutory or constitutional right of the petitioner was violated.

The facts

2. The Appellant has lived with acute phases of mental illness [psychiatric disorder i.e. a severe depression with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)] since 1996-97 until 2006; he belongs to a notified other backward class (“OBC”). Therefore, he was a “person with mental impairment/disability” within the meaning of the PWD Act. In terms of the IDEA scale, the disability suffered by the Appellant over the years was above 40% rendering him ineligible to receive benefits in terms of reservation in employment and education. He claims that due to his mental illness, he wasted several years of his life in the attempt to excel in employment (Central Civil Service) exams. He had appeared seven times (the maximum attempts an OBC candidate is allowed) in the combined Civil Services Examination but had failed on each occasion. Post 2006 when his condition improved he found no assistance to compensate for the time lost in combating the mental illness; more so, he was unable to attempt the examination again through the “Physically Disabled” (PD) quota. He consequently urges that if the PWD Act is not amended to include reservations in government jobs for similarly situated individuals as him, i.e. those who suffer mental illness, it would be arbitrary and discriminatory.

3. Despite his disability, the Appellant claims that he prepared and appeared for the civil services exams in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Though he qualified in the preliminary examination, he was unable to clear the mains examination. In 2008, he cleared the mains examination but was not called for training since he stood lower in the OBC merit (he scored 1110/2300). He contends that had he been allowed to appear from the Physically Disabled Category, he would have been selected as he had scored far above the last candidate selected from the Physically Disabled Category (991/2300). In his final attempt the appellant obtained 875/2000 whereas the last candidate in the physical disability category scored only 723/2000. In 2011 when the appellant attempted to register for the Civil Services Exam, his form was rejected stating “Already availed maximum number of chances available to your category/(illegible) entry.”

4. The Appellant claims that he visited Delhi and informed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) about his disability through his representation dated 15.04.2011 and requested for consideration of his candidature as a person with disability and grant him the benefit of additional attempts that he lost due to his mental illness. However, no such relief was provided. It is argued that the PWD Act mentions “mental illness” as a disability under Section 2(i) but provides no rehabilitation or benefits in terms of age relaxation/reservations in jobs (thereby denying persons similarly situated as him) a level playing field and equal opportunities. Further, the appellant states that Section 33 of the PWD Act which directs the Government to reserve in every establishment, a percentage of vacancies for persons with disabilities does not extend such reservation to those rehabilitated after mental illness. Section 33 only lists i) blindness or low vision, ii) Hearing impairment and iii) Locomotor disability or cerebral palsy as the disabilities for which at least one per cent vacancies must be reserved.

5. The petitioner, had, before the learned Single Judge admitted that, pursuant to being a signatory to an international convention, an amendment to the PWD Act was pending before the Parliament; this amendment seeks to include persons with mental disabilities the benefit of reservation in employment. Counsel for the respondents argued before the learned Single Judge that when the relief sought by the petitioner is already a subject matter of a pending legislation before the Parliament, the Court could not grant such relief only on the basis of an international treaty considering that various administrative actions would be required like identification of jobs/ areas etc before the passing of an act giving effect to such international treaty.

6. The learned Single Judge, agreeing with the counsel for respondents held that once the entitlement the petitioner seeks, is the subject matter of a pending legislation- where the intent of such legislation is to give effect to an international treaty, then the Court cannot direct employment purely on the basis of the international treaty. The learned Single Judge dismissed the petition by stating that it was not in the jurisdiction of the Court to lay out a time schedule for enactment of a law or making changes in existing legislation, by the concerned legislature and hence no statutory or constitutional right of the petitioner was violated.

7. Ms. Meenakshi Arora, learned senior counsel for the appellant, urges that the impugned judgment is unsustainable. It is argued that the question of constitutionality of a provision is independent of whether amendment of legislation is proposed or not. It was argued that once Parliament had classified four broad heads of disability and defined the threshold limit for the purpose of disability, the question of further classification for the purposes of reservation in public employment did not arise. Counsel stresses that the petitioner admittedly fell within the category of disabled person. However, the further threshold that such individuals had to have a minimum percentage of the specified disability, and more crucially, the category of disability (though applicable uniformly) also has a discriminatory effect. It is urged that the two levels of over classification, i.e firstly confining state employment reservation only to two categories and denying to other categories, especially those with mental disabilities and further prescribing a minimum threshold has the effect of completely eliminating those with mental disabilities. Having once classified those with mental disabilities as persons with disabilities, the denial of employment reservation and prescription of minimum level of disability in their case, is discriminatory. It is argued that Section 33 of the PWD Act, to the extent it denies person with mental illness reservation in the employment is void and has to be suitably read down.

8. It is argued that the object of the PWD Act was to ensure not only equality and elimination of barriers that disabled persons face, but also to see that they live independent lives with dignity in accordance with their choice. Various benefits are mandated, including educational provisions, measures to remove physical barriers to access to buildings and public spaces, provision of special amenities such as toilets, etc. Counsel contended that the inaction of the respondents in bringing the PWD Act in line with the Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (2006) should not result in discrimination against those who fulfil the disability criteria but are denied the benefit of reservation.

9. Learned senior counsel, relied on Union of India and Another Vs. National Federation of the Blind & Ors (2013) 10 SCC 772 to argue that all kinds of disabilities are to be reckoned for the purpose of providing reservation in public employment. The further restrictive approach adopted by the respondents, in limiting reservations in employment to only three categories, i.e locomotor disability, hearing disability and vision impaired individuals, is a hyper classification which is contrary to both Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.

10. Mr. Naresh Kaushik, learned counsel appearing for the UPSC, argues that the claim in the present proceeding emanated out of a demand that reservation to those other than the three categories specified by the PWD Act should be provided. It was submitted that there is well-settled authority for the proposition that Parliament cannot be directed to make legislation; the task of the court is to see whether enacted law is contrary to any known constitutional principles. It was secondly argued that Parliament was cognizant of India’s obligations under the international conventions and treaties to which it was a party; precisely for that reason, the PWD Act was brought into force. Therefore, the Act cannot be faulted for not having provided something, which is to the petitioner/appellant’s liking, or not providing something, which is of use to him.

11. The respondents further submitted that the appellant had availed of seven chances; in none of them did he mention that he was a disabled candidate. His explanation that the kind or category of disability was not provided for in the form made available to the candidates, for that purpose, is of no avail. Furthermore, the petitioner cannot say that he could not avail the requisite chances because as an OBC candidate, he did avail more chances than were available to open category candidates. Having so benefitted, he cannot complain that in a given examination, some PWD quota candidate secured less marks or percentage than him and was nevertheless provided employment in the quota made available to him or her. It is further submitted that the petitioner cannot seek relief in respect of the matter for which he has approached the Central Administrative Tribunal, i.e the debarment from exam for a tenure, given the non-disclosure of material facts in his form.

Analysis and Findings

12. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Resolution 3447 (XXX) of the General Assembly of the United Nations dated 9th December 1975, entitled “Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons” recognized the need for special provisions for the empowerment of disabled persons and ensure dignity to them. The proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asia and Pacific Region, at Beijing [hereafter “Beijing Proclamation”], to which India was a party, was adopted on 1-5 th December, 1992. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Region is the next important watershed moment in the move to extend equality and dignity as well as to ensure full participation of persons with disabilities in all walks of life. The PWD Act was enacted as an instance of legislative intervention to secure and achieve the goals pledged in the Proclamation.

13. The Single Judge’s conclusions that the Court cannot direct Parliament or a legislature to amend the law, or enact a new law, are unexceptionable. Yet the writ petition, in this Court’s opinion, could not have been disposed off only with respect to claim/relief (a), given that reliefs, i.e. directions to the respondents to make “reasonable accommodation” in the light of provisions of UNCRDP and a further direction to increase the number of attempts available to persons with disabilities, were sought in the alternative.

14. Undoubtedly, till Parliament enacts a law and gives effect to a treaty, its provisions cannot have application per se – this much is clear from Article 253 of the Constitution of India and the judgment of the Supreme Court in Entertainment Network (India) Ltd. v. Super Cassette Industries Ltd. 2008 (13) SCC 30. However, the relief claimed in this case had, in this Court’s opinion, some roots in enacted and existing law – especially Section 32 of the PWD Act. It is, therefore, essential to consider the appellant’s contentions regarding violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and whether any other alternative relief should be given.

15. Since, in this case, the provisions of the PWD Act are in question, it would be useful to extract some of them. They are as below:

(1) Disability is defined by the Act under Section 2 (i) as
“Disability” means

“Disability” means

i) blindness;

ii) low vision;

iii) leprosy-cured;

iv) hearing impairment;

v) locomotor disability;

vi) mental retardation;

vii) mental illness;”

(2) Section 2(j) defines employer:

“employer” means,-

i) in relation to a Government, the authority notified by the Head of the Department in this behalf or where no such authority is notified, the Head of the Department; and

ii) in relation to an establishment, the Chief Executive Officer of that establishment;”

(3) Under Section 2 (k) an establishment is defined as follows:

“establishment” means a corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act, or an authority or a body owned or controlled or aided by the Government or a local authority or a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) and includes Departments of a Government;”

(4) Mental illness is defined as follows:

“(q) “Mental illness” means any mental disorder other than mental retardation”

(5) Mental retardation has been defined in the following terms:

“(r) “Mental retardation” means a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person which is specially characterized by sub normality of intelligence;”

(6) A person with disability is defined by the Act in the following terms:

“(t) “person with disability‟ means a person suffering from not less than forty per cent of any disability as certified by a medical authority”

(7) Chapter VI of the Act deals with the employment of persons with disabilities. The relevant Sections of the said Chapter are as under:-

“32. Identification of posts which can be reserved for persons with disabilities. – Appropriate Governments shall-

(a) identify posts, in the establishments, which can be reserved for the persons with disability;

(b) at periodical intervals not exceeding three years, review the list of posts identified and up-date the list taking into consideration the developments in technology.

33. Reservation of Posts – Every appropriate Government shall appoint in every establishment such percentage of vacancies not less than three per cent for persons or class of persons with disability of which one per cent each shall be reserved for persons suffering from-

(i) blindness or low vision;

(ii) hearing impairment;

(iii) locomotor disability or cerebral palsy, in the posts identified for each disability:

Provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type of work carried on in any department or establishment, by notification subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notification, exempt any establishment from the provisions of this section.

36. Vacancies not filled up to be carried forward.- Where in any recruitment year any vacancy under section 33 cannot be filled up due to non-availability of a suitable person with disability or, for any other sufficient reason, such vacancy shall be carried forward in the succeeding recruitment year and if in the succeeding recruitment year also suitable person with disability is not available, it may first be filled by interchange among the three categories and only when there is no person with disability available for the post in that year, the employer shall fill up the vacancy by appointment of a person, other than a person with disability:

Provided that if the nature of vacancies in an establishment is such that a given category of person cannot be employed, the vacancies may be interchanged among the three categories with the prior approval of the appropriate Government.”

16. In National Federation of the Blind & Ors (supra) relied on by the appellant, the Supreme Court held as follows:

“a reading of Section 33, at the outset, establishes vividly the intention of the legislature viz., reservation of 3% for differently abled persons should have to be computed on the basis of total vacancies in the strength of a cadre and not just on the basis of the vacancies available in the identified posts. There is no ambiguity in the language of Section 33 and from the construction of the said statutory provision only one meaning is possible.

31) A perusal of Section 33 of the Act reveals that this section has been divided into three parts. The first part is “every appropriate Government shall appoint in every establishment such percentage of vacancies not less than 3% for persons or class of persons with disability.” It is evident from this part that it mandates every appropriate Government shall appoint a minimum of 3% vacancies in its establishments for persons with disabilities. In this light, the contention of the Union of India that reservation in terms of Section 33 has to be computed against identified posts only is not tenable by any method of interpretation of this part of the Section.

32) The second part of this section starts as follows: “…of which one percent each shall be reserved for persons suffering from blindness or low vision, hearing impairment & locomotor disability or cerebral palsy in the posts identified for each disability.” From the above, it is clear that it deals with distribution of 3% posts in every establishment among 3 categories of disabilities. It starts from the word “of which”. The word “of which” has to relate to appointing not less than 3% vacancies in an establishment and, in any way, it does not refer to the identified posts. In fact, the contention of the Union of India is sought to be justified by bringing the last portion of the second part of the section viz. “….identified posts” in this very first part which deals with the statutory obligation imposed upon the appropriate Government to “appoint not less than 3% vacancies for the persons or class of persons with disabilities.” In our considered view, it is not plausible in the light of established rules of interpretation. The minimum level of representation of persons with disabilities has been provided in this very first part and the second part deals with the distribution of this 3% among the three categories of disabilities. Further, in the last portion of the second part the words used are “in the identified posts for each disability” and not “of identified posts”. This can only mean that out of minimum 3% of vacancies of posts in the establishments 1% each has to be given to each of the 3 categories of disability viz., blind and low vision, hearing impaired and locomotor disabled or cerebral palsy separately and the number of appointments equivalent to the 1% for each disability out of total 3% has to be made against the vacancies in the identified posts. The attempt to read identified posts in the first part itself and also to read the same to have any relation with the computation of reservation is completely misconceived.

33) The third part of the Section is the proviso which reads thus: “Provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type of work carried on in any department or establishment, by notification subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notification, exempt any establishment from the provisions of this section.” The proviso also justifies the above said interpretation that the computation of reservation has to be against the total number vacancies in the cadre strength and not against the identified posts. Had the legislature intended to mandate for computation of reservation against the identified posts only, there was no need for inserting the proviso to Section which empowers the appropriate Government to exempt any establishment either partly or fully from the purview of the Section subject to such conditions contained in the notification to be issued in the Official Gazette in this behalf. Certainly, the legislature did not intend to give such arbitrary power for exemption from reservation for persons with disabilities to be exercised by the appropriate Government when the computation is intended to be made against the identified posts.”

17. The Act is an instance of benevolent social legislation. The Supreme Court has emphasized that such benevolent enactments ought to be given liberal and expansive interpretation, and not narrow or restrictive construction (Madan Singh Shekhawat v. Union of India, 1999 (6) SCC 459; Deepal Girishbhai Soni v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. AIR 2004 SC 2107; and Babu Parasakaikadi v. Babu AIR 2004 SC 754). If this Court were to agree with the Respondents, the interpretation would defeat the objective of enacting Section 33. As the court is interpreting a benevolent social welfare legislation, its purpose must be given the paramount consideration. Section 33 is not an exhaustive list of all sub-categories within the meaning of disability and to that extent is merely illustrative. If separate quotas are not provided, there is a danger of the disability quota being availed of only by one category of disabled; the other groups could be disadvantaged because of their condition. What the section, however, mandates is that minimum reservation to the extent of 3% should be made of which one per cent each should be set apart for the three enumerated categories. The equalizing principle which suffuses the entire enactmentright from its objective, to reservations, to ensuring non-discrimination at the workplace and promoting a barrier-less physical environment, cannot in the opinion of the court, be read as confining the state’s responsibility to providing reservations for only three distinct categories, when there can possibly be others as well.

18. The structure of Section 33 supports this Court’s conclusion: the controlling phrase is the obligation to reserve “such percentage of vacancies not less than three per cent for persons or class of persons with disability of which one per cent each shall be reserved for persons suffering from…” for the enumerated three categories, i.e vision impairment, locomotor disability and hearing impairment. The clear allusion of “such percentage” of vacancies and the further reference in favour of “persons or class of persons with disability” leaves no doubt that the obligation to provide reservations is not only to the three enumerated categories, or only to the extent of 3 percent, but a wider one. However, the further statutory interdict of ensuring one per cent each to the three enumerated categories, is to ensure that such quantum is assured to those with disabilities of that kind or category- in their case, the reservation to that extent is obligatory and compulsive.

19. There is no doubt that the appellant’s grievance about his inability to obtain any effective aid from the PWD Act leaves him no benefit. To that extent, the court’s interpretation of the obligation to provide benefits for all, is helpful. However, to yield any significant result, this court should also be able to conclude that the omission to provide reservation for other categories or spelling out a similar mandate (not less than one percent) is discriminatory. Here, the court experiences difficulty in arriving at such a conclusion. It is one thing to say that all persons with disabilities are to be treated alike; however, to enable each one of them equal rights to reservation, it is also essential to recognize that the kinds of disabilities might also differ. The mechanism provided by Parliament, i.e first through identification of posts, (that can be manned or filled by persons with disability) is equally part of the PWD Act. In National Federation of the Blind (supra), the court held that total vacancies available in a cadre should be reckoned to the extent that the construction benefits persons with disability. However, the post identification exercise under Section 32 requires an in-depth analysis of the nature of duties and responsibilities attached to the particular post or posts, which might then be recommended for inclusion (for the purpose of PWD reservation). Now, this exercise has not been challenged. The rationale for such provision appears to be the assumption (not entirely unfounded) that certain posts, by the nature of duties attached are unsuitable to persons with disabilities (a glaring example could be the post of a pilot vis-à-vis a person with severe visual impairment given that a person with disability should have an impairment of not less than 40%). The post identification exercise under Section 32 in this case – which resulted in the omission to include mental illness as a category of disability for the purpose of reservations under the civil services, has resulted in eliminating the appellant from consideration for reservation under Section

20. The legitimacy of this exercise cannot be challenged. At the same time, during the hearing the respondents were unable to shed any light as to why those suffering from mental illness have not been included in the list of reserved categories entitled to reservations.

21. By Section 2(q) “Mental illness” is defined as “any mental disorder other than mental retardation”. Though not illuminating, the clear demarcation between mental retardation on the one hand and mental disorder (not amounting to retardation) is to a certain extent helpful. Oxford English dictionary defines mental disorder as “A condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behaviour or thinking” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/mental_illness accessed at 17:50 hrs, 14 October, 2016). The Mental Health Act defines a “mentally ill” person as one “who is in need of treatment by person of any mental disorder other than mental retardation”. Now, there are two paradoxes at work here – the first is that those with mental illness are altogether excluded from consideration for any employment under the Section 33 reservation; two, and importantly, that mental disorders are of varied severity and extent. Even mental illness can differ significantly as to use of a person’s skills acquired during one’s life time. For instance, severe depression or disorders such as schizophrenia could seem as complete barriers to jobs. However, the severity of those conditions may vary, as well as their extent: they may be temporary and entirely brought under control. To club all these with the severest form of mental illness or disorder may be unjustified. The irony here is that someone with a fairly low degree of illness (say to the extent of 25% or 35%) would not fall within the definition of “person with disability” whereas one with a greater degree of disability (say 90% and total) may not be able to work at all, given the nature of illness. This is where the appellant’s grievance has to be addressed. The “one size fits all” assumption that one with disability should have at least 40% of that condition may be justified and work well for person with vision or hearing impairment or locomotor disability. However, applying that matrix to person with mental disability could eliminate him or her altogether from consideration (whereas one who may technically be a person with disability, may be excluded altogether because of its very nature and its hindrance to normal discharge of public employment functions). Yet again, there is the legislative mandate of carrying post identification exercise once in three years, having regard to advancement in technology. Now this mandate is useful not only in relation to availability of devices and tools such as hearing aids, etc (to enable hitherto unemployable persons with hearing disability for jobs which might now be conveniently performed by them) but also in relation to the kinds of medication and medical breakthrough resulting in ailments and conditions becoming amenable to treatment and control. If this mandate were to be given its logical effect, yet, the threshold of 40% disability might prove to be an additional barrier for those with mental illness or disorder.

22. After the Beijing Proclamation, the United Nations Convention for rights of Persons with Disabilities-2006 was adopted; India ratified the convention on 1st October, 2007. Article 4 (1) obliges all state parties to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability and to that end State Parties undertook to “to take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities”. The convention provided for the principle of equality and non-discrimination as follows: “Article 5 – Equality and non-discrimination 1. States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law. 2. States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds. 3. In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided. 4. Specific measures which are necessary to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of the present Convention.”

23. The Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner of India released Data on Disability under the Census of India 2011. In the 2011 Census, information on eight types of disability was collected namely – 1) in seeing, 2) in hearing, 3) in speech, 4) in movement, 5) mental retardation, 6) mental illness, 7) any other, 8) multiple disability (Source: C-Series, Table C-20, Census of India 2011, http://www.censusindia.gov.in). The data highlights showed that a total of 26,810,557 individuals or 2.21% of the total population of India suffer from disabilities. Between the census conducted in 2001 and 2011, there has been an increase of 22.4% in the number of individuals suffering from disabilities. The number of individuals suffering from Mental Retardation or Mental Illness was estimated at 2,228,450. 8.3% of all disabled individuals in the country suffer from either Mental Retardation or Mental Illness. Further, individuals suffering from Multiple Disabilities were estimated at 2,116,487 (7.9% of all disabled individuals). Further the categories of Mental Retardation and Mental Illness were new categories introduced in the Census 2011 that need to be delved into further. Individuals suffering from specific Mental Disabilities require specific reservations and aid in terms of education and more importantly employment and these can only be provided by the State through the pending legislative proposals when the data collected is more detailed regarding the actual conditions of individuals.

24. These figures show that there are a significant number of persons with disabilities who suffer from mental illness or disorder (over 2 million). Given these numbers, it cannot be said that Parliament intended that they should be kept out of any kind of public employment (regardless of its severity). The facts of this case highlight that what appears to be a standard norm for one category of persons with disability cannot be universally applied: the result would be the opposite, i.e, the total exclusion of that category in the exercise of post identification under Section 32.

25. The Appellant relied on the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012 which introduced drastic changes in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 so as to make it in tandem with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Currently, a further amended Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha but as yet not been passed. This Bill seeks to replace the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. Instead of seven disabilities specified in the Act, the bill covers 19 different conditions. The Bill confers several rights and entitlements to disabled persons and has been brought in to fulfill obligations under the international treaty that learned senior counsel for the appellant has referred to at numerous occasions in her arguments.

26. In order to prescribe guidelines for evaluation and assessment of Mental illness and procedure for certification, a Committee was constituted by the Department of Health, Government of India vide Order dated 6th August, 2001 under the Chairmanship of Director General of Health Services on the basis of request made by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The committee decided that the minimum degree of disability, in order to be eligible for any concessions or benefits would be 40% under the IDEA (Indian Disability Evaluation Assessment) scale ( http://www.ccdisabilities.nic.in/page.php?s=&t=pb&p=guide_mental – Office of The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities).

27. It is the opinion of this Court that a blanket 40% disability test to provide reservations in employment may be impracticable. A particular disability suffered by an individual might require specific aid and comes with specific restrictions. An individual suffering from a visual disability could avail specific benefits in terms of reservations in employment, as his mental condition is normal. Such an individual might be suffering from a disability of over 40% on the IDEA scale but his employability may not be affected. On the other hand, a different individual suffering from another disability of above 40% on the IDEA scale might not be employable for certain positions as his mental condition could be adversely affected. Hence it is the opinion of this Court that in a country where 26,810,557 individuals suffer from different disabilities, a one size fit all model might not be the most efficient. That 40% on the IDEA scale makes individuals more or less employable cannot be held ideal. The legislature may consider to create a model where individuals suffering from different disabilities may be recognized and given benefits in terms of education, employment, health etc. which are suitable to their individual condition. The benchmarking through the IDEA scale may have to vary depending on different disabilities. However, this remains within the legislative domain and since there is a move to amend the Act, the court – in accordance with well settled principles on this subject cannot direct the enactment of legislation.

28. This court, therefore, concludes that there is some deficiency in the existing law, i.e the PWD Act, both with respect to providing reservations as well as the classification of all persons with disabilities as one having at least 40% of any specified or enumerated condition, which can well be the reason for ultimate discrimination. Whilst it is within executive domain to categorize which post can be suitable for what kind of person or persons with disability, the absolute minimum threshold of 40% in the case of certain kinds of disabilities could be the barrier – unwitting though the case may be, and eliminate from the post identification exercise persons with such disabilities altogether. This clearly has a discriminatory result, and an indirect discriminatory effect. Having arrived at this conclusion, the court is conscious that neither is this result capable of judicial redress (as that would involve the court judicially enacting law, by reading words into the statutean entirely unwarranted intrusion into Parliamentary power) nor can existing law be suitably read down or severed. Furthermore, and more fundamentally, this court does not have empirical data or scientific medical expertise in the matter and would have to hazard conclusions based on some materials which it might source, or intuitively guess. Whatever be the manner of exercise of power, such assumption of quasi-executive and legislative power can prove to be a remedy worse than the disease.

29. What the court can and proposes, is to direct the respondent and the Central Government to, with the aid of appropriate subject experts in mental illness and disorders, study the problems which have resulted in total exclusion and denial of persons suffering from mental illness the benefits of reservation under Section 33 of the PWD Act and also determine if the threshold of 40% under the PWD Act needs revision based on which an appropriate law could be made, or existing law amended.

30. As far as the appellant’s grievance with respect to “lost opportunities” is concerned, this court is unable to redress the grievance. At the same time, this court notes that the appellant availed seven chances, and did not at the time when a person with a notified disability was appointed -with lower marks than him- articulate such grievance. That ground is consequently held to be meritless. As far as the penalty of bar from appearing in public employment goes, though the matter is not before us, the Court is of opinion that the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) may consider in its discretion the proportionality of such imposition having regard to all the facts of the case. However, this is only an observation and cannot be construed as a direction.

31. For the foregoing reasons, the court is of opinion that though the appellant’s grievances are to an extent justified, the remedy lies in amending the law. The court commends the respondents to take action towards a proper evaluation of the matter, in the light of the observations in paras 28-30 above. The appeal is dismissed, subject to the above observations.

S. RAVINDRA BHAT (JUDGE) DEEPA SHARMA (JUDGE)

OCTOBER 27, 2016

http://lobis.nic.in/ddir/dhc/SRB/judgement/27-10-2016/SRB27102016LPA2222013.pdf

20161027-Delhi High Court LPA 222 of 2013 Jadhav Vishwas Haridas vs Union Public Service Commission_SRB27102016LPA2222013.pdf

 

Pakistan SC cites Indian ruling to uphold death sentence for mentally ill man

21-Oct-2016

Imtiaz Ahmad

Islamabad : Pakistan’s Supreme Court has cited a judgement by its Indian counterpart to uphold the death sentence given to a mentally ill man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, prompting an outcry from civil society activists.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali issued the order in the case of Imdad Ali, aged around 50 years, who was sentenced to death for the murder of a religious teacher in 2002. His sentence was upheld by all superior courts, including the Supreme Court and the president rejected his mercy petition.

In an order issued on Thursday, the Supreme Court cited the judgment of India’s Supreme Court in the 1977 case of Amrit Bhushan Gupta vs the Union of India, which was similar to Ali’s case. The Indian convict’s mother filed a petition in the Delhi high court, which said her son’s execution should be withheld because he was of unsound mind and suffering from schizophrenia.

The Delhi high court and India’s Supreme Court dismissed the mother’s plea, arguing the convict did not suffer from legal insanity during his trial or at the time the offence was committed.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court said a psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia does not subjugate a death sentence. It observed in its 11-page judgment: “In our opinion, rules relating to mental sickness are not subjugative to delay the execution of death sentence which has been awarded to the convict.”

The top court noted that subordinate courts had discarded Ali’s plea of mental illness. “Schizophrenia is not a permanent mental disorder; rather it is an imbalance which can increase or decrease depending on the level of stress,” it added.

The court further said, “In recent years, the prognosis has been improved with drugs, by vigorous psychological and social managements, and rehabilitation. It is, therefore, a recoverable disease, which in all the cases, does not fall with the definition of ‘mental disorder’ as defined in the Mental Health Ordinance, 2001.”

Ali’s wife Safia Bano had approached the Supreme Court, claiming her husband was insane and his death sentence should be delayed till he received medical treatment so that he could make his will.

The judgment was criticised by civil society activists, who said such a ruling went against all international norms of justice.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) protested against the judgement. A spokesperson said mental illness and insanity were reasons for a court not to declare a person guilty of a crime. “This decision will have far reaching implications,” HRCP said.

Earlier, the watchdog Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) too filed an appeal against the Lahore high court’s order which dismissed pleas that Ali could not be executed because of his mental illness. JPP argued that the court should look into Ali’s medical condition and the extenuating circumstances that had aggravated his mental illness during his lengthy time on death row.

Ali hails from Burewala district of Punjab province. After warrants were issued for his execution on July 26, his wife filed a writ petition in the Lahore high court, which rejected her plea on August 23.

She then approached the Supreme Court with the same plea but the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jamali upheld the death sentence.

hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan-sc-cites-indian-ruling-to-uphold-death-sentence-for-mentally-ill-man/story-CYpBHMT6sA3xwJDCb5lEWO.html