- Apprentice Lawyer
The Kerala Government informed the Kerala High Court on Tuesday that it has been taking steps to constitute the State Mental Health Authority as prescribed by the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 (Kerala Legal Services Authority v. State of Kerala).
A Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly was hearing a petition moved by the Kerala Legal Services Authority (KELSA), which had raised concern that the non-constitution of the State Mental Health Authority and the Mental Health Review Board entailed a violation of the fundamental rights of persons with mental illnesses.
On Tuesday, Special Government Pleader N Manoj Kumar submitted that the Authority has already been constituted. He told the Court that while some members have been nominated, the nomination of the others would take place shortly.
As far as the constitution of Mental Health Review Boards were concerned, the Government Pleader sought time to obtain instructions.In turn, the High Court has now adjourned the matter to be taken up next on January 13.
The petition, filed through Advocate Santhosh Mathew and lawyers of Ninan and Mathew Advocates, had highlighted that the functioning State Mental Health Authority and Board were crucial to the effective implementation of the Mental Health Act.
Section 45 of the Act called for the appointment of the Authority within nine months from the commencement of the legislation,it was pointed out. Additionally, the petition noted that Section 73 mandates the constitution of the Mental Health Board.
In this light, KELSA had sought the Court's intervention in constituting the Mental Health Review Board as well as the State Mental Health Authority.