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SPs in Kullu, Solan, Simaur deliberately neglecting HC orders, will face contempt of court: Shimla NGO

SHIMLA- Superintendent of Police in three districts, Kullu, Solan, and Sirmaur were alleged by a Shimla-based NGO of not complying with orders of the Himachal Pradesh High Court regarding protection of rights of the disabled, destitute people in Himachal. The NGO, Umang Foundation, in a press conference, had announced that a PIL will be filed to initiate contempt of court proceedings against these police officers for deliberately neglecting specific orders of the court to safeguard the rights of mentally ill people.

Some Superintendents of Police blatantly disobey the directions issued by the Principal Secretary (Home) and Director General of Police for the strict compliance of the Act and High Court’s orders,

alleged the NGO.

In its judgement in a PIL filed by a citizen of Shimla, Subhash Kumar, the High Court on June 4, 2015 had directed all the SPs to ‘strictly comply with’ section 23 of the Mental Health Act. Based on this judgement, the NGO wrote letters to the SPs of Sirmaur, Solan and Kullu etc. and gave them specific information about a dozen of mentally ill persons wandering in their districts. But, the NGO alleged, the SPs chose not to comply with the court.

The NGO claims that fresh directions were passed to the IGs and SPs on March 17 and 20, 2017 respectively. They were asked to strictly follow the orders of the court and rescue the shelter-less mentally-ill. But the ground situation is same and SPs are determined not to take any action, alleged the NGO.

Most of the Superintendents of Police are deliberately attracting contempt of court. Under section 23 of the Mental Health Act, it is the responsibility of the police to take cognizance of any home-less, mentally ill person seen in their respective jurisdictions. Police is responsible to take him/her into custody and produce before a Judicial Magistrate. The Magistrate passes further directions regarding mental health check-up and treatment on government expenditure.

Now, the NGO has decided to initiate contempt proceedings against the SPs of Solan, Sirmaur and Kullu in the first phase. The proposed PIL will demand to create a fool-proof mechanism to protect the legal rights of the mentally ill persons, improvement in the infrastructure of State Mental Hospital and create awareness among the police force, students and public about the rights of such people.

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