The court observed that even after being cured, family members of the mentally ill are unwilling to take them back home. Photograph: (Reuters)
'It is very easily achievable. You give us a model scheme. We will then put it to the state governments,' the court told the government
India's top court on Wednesday asked the central government to frame guidelines for rehabilitation of persons who have been cured of their mental illness, observing that the issue was "very sensitive".
A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar observed that after mentally ill persons are cured, not even their family members are willing to take them back home.
"It is a very, very sensitive issue. You (Centre) should apply your mind. When a person goes to a mental asylum and after treatment he is cured, no body is willing to take him back to home. You (Centre) should think over it," the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said.
The apex court told solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, that the government "cannot allow a person to be kept" in a mental asylum or a nursing home after he or she is fully cured of the ailment.
"They have to be brought back to civil society. You will have to frame a policy," the bench said.
"It is very easily achievable. You give us a model scheme. We will then put it to the state governments and ask them. Give us a scheme," the court told the Centre.
The Solicitor General, however, told the bench that they needed some time as two ministries -- Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Justice -- were involved in this process.
The apex court gave eight weeks time to the Centre for this.
"The proposal made to the Centre by this court has been tentatively accepted and the Union of India will frame guidelines/scheme for rehabilitation of mentally sick persons, who are in a mental asylum or a nursing home, and have been fully cured after treatment," the bench said.