Delhi HC asks Centre to issue new guidelines to include COVID-19 testing of mentally ill homeless people
New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Friday suggested the Central government to find a mechanism and issue guidelines for COVID-19 testing facility for mentally ill homeless people, including those without any identity or address proofs.
The Delhi High Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking directions to the Delhi government and the Centre to issue guidelines with respect to COVID-19 testing facility for mentally ill homeless persons.
The PIL submitted that homeless mentally ill persons being a neglected group within a vulnerable section not only need special care and attention but also require regular support from the government and society.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan suggested the Delhi government and the Union of India even if homeless people don`t have any identity proofs, some mechanism should be developed to at least provide them testing facility.
After making the observation, the High Court granted time to the counsels and posted the matter for August 7 to take instructions and resolves the issue.
It also submitted that as per Section 3 (3) of the Mental Healthcare Act-2017, it is the duty of the Delhi government to take all necessary measures for providing a range of services required by persons with mental illness.
Earlier, the Delhi government in an affidavit had stated that one of the primary problems being faced in the testing of the homeless and destitute persons with mental illness or suspected mental illness is the unavailability or absence of photo identity card and a valid mobile number, both of which are mandated as mandatory conditions by the national guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued by Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.