HC suggests privatisation of state-run mental hospitals in Maharashtra

Expressing concern over Maharashtra government's apathy towards the condition in state-run mental hospitals, the Bombay High Court today sought to know what steps will be taken towards improving it and also suggested their privatisation.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and V L Achliya was hearing a public interest litigation by social worker Vrushali Kalal who had raised the issue and sought a direction to the government to improve the condition of mental hospitals in Thane, Pune, Ratnagiri and Nagpur.

Apart from several other points, the petition is seeking implementation of the provisions of Mental Health Act in the four state-run mental hospitals. 

The High Court had earlier asked judicial officers to conduct surprise checks at the hospitals and submit a report.

After perusing the report, the bench today said the condition at the hospitals were deplorable and no psychologist or psychiatrist was available at any of the hospitals and none of the hospitals has a rehabilitation programme.

"What steps has the government taken after perusal of the report? The government should consider privatisation of these hospitals," the court said. 

It also opined that the government should generate public awareness about mental illness and its symptoms so that people are not hesitant to approach psychologists to seek help.

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