Mentally Ill Should Not Become Easy Carriers of COVID-19: NHRC

NHRC, (National Human Rights Commission) has taken cognizance of a complaint; with regard to infringement of human rights of the mentally ill people stranded on the streets. NHRC seeks an account from the Ministry of Home Affairs of the arrangements made by them. The reply must be given within two weeks including details of the steps taken or proposed to be taken by the authorities on the issue.

The complaint states, people must remain indoors; and only essential services are functional amid the nationwide lockdown. However, NHRC noted that a large number of persons suffering from various mental conditions are loitering on the streets. They are dependent on temples, gurudwaras, and other charity organizations for food, shelter, et cetera.

NHRC observed that the Central and the State governments have taken various steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Of course, it becomes the duty of the State to ensure food, shelter, and social security for the people belonging to the weaker category as well. However, the administration has not issued any specific guidelines for these people. Henceforth, NHRC issued directions to the States and Union Territories. To ensure that persons suffering from any kind of mental condition should be provided with proper counselling alongwith basic amenities. Moreover, precautions and protection must be considered. For the reason, that the mentally ill are more prone to spreading the virus.

Consequently, the National Human Rights Commission considered it appropriate to forward the complaint along with its proceeding to the Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi calling for comments in the matter.