The Delhi High Court while dealing with an appeal of a woman alleged to have killed her husband has directed the State to ensure a sufficient number of short-stay and long-stay homes for the people with mental illness.

A Division Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Poonam A. Bamba observed, “It is hoped and expected that in terms of the directions of this Court in Charanjit Singh (supra) the State will ensure sufficient number of Short Stay Homes and Long Stay Homes for people with mental illness who do not require regular hospitalization and who have no homes to go back to live in a safe, congenial and pleasant environment.”

The Bench said that it is the bounden duty of the State to take care of the life of all its citizens.

Advocate Anu Narula appeared for the appellant while APP Prithu Garg appeared for the State.

Brief Facts -

The appellant due to the absence of solitude and support ended up in jail and spent her years in IHBAS (Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences) after being arrested in September 2005. While she was in judicial custody, she complained of psychiatric problems, and during the trial the application submitted by Jail Superintendent informed the court that the appellant was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and was undergoing treatment as an outdoor patient at IHBAS.

The Trial Court after the final arguments pronounced its judgment and convicted the appellant for the offence punishable under Sections 302 and 326 of the Indian Penal Code. She was convicted by the court after finding her guilty of killing her husband and causing grievous injuries (three knife injuries) to her stepdaughter who later died.

The High Court in view of the above facts noted, “Needless to note that from the medical record of the appellant it was evident that though initially she was in and out of IHBAS and on regular treatment, however after her stay at the Short Stay Home Saksham at IHBAS there is incremental improvement in the mental health of the appellant due to which this Court was able to receive the report that at the moment the paranoid schizophrenia of the appellant was in remission and the learned counsel for the appellant was also able to interact with her.”

The Court held that since the appellant is not in a position to take care of herself even though the schizophrenia is in remission at the moment nor does any of her family members inclined to look after her, it is the duty of the State to take adequate care of her and such other patients, for which purpose the Short/ Long Stay Homes have been set up.

“Consequently, the appellant will continue to stay in the Long Stay Home at IHBAS and expenses of all necessary treatment and stay of the appellant will be borne by the State”, directed the Court.

The Court further ordered that a copy of its judgment be also sent to the Principal Secretary (Home) GNCTD, Principal Secretary (Health) GNCTD, Director General (Prisons), and Medical Superintendent, IHBAS for necessary compliance.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the appeal.

Cause Title- Madhu Bala v. State (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:4305-DB)

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