20 May 2010
Passing common orders on two public interest petitions, a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice KK Sasidharan directed the Chennai city commissioner of police to inquire into the complaints submitted on April 12 and 16. The bench also asked the commissioner to file a report on the activities of two deaddiction centres – Sadanai Network India Trust at Shozhinganallur and Manshree Network India Trust at Akkarai – on or before June 7, when the matter is slated to be taken up for further hearing.
The petitioners, V Ashok Kumar and S Yogeswaran of New Washermenpet, said the state did not have a regulatory mechanism to streamline the functioning of de–addiction centres and that in most of the centres only untrained and unqualified people were involved in ‘treatment’.
Ashok Kumar said his brother Sasikumar (33) was admitted in the Sadanai Network on March 12, and that on April 5 he was informed that the patient was bleeding from nose and mouth. He said Sasikumar was declared dead at the Government Royapettah Hospital, where he was informed that his brother was brought dead. Noting that he was never allowed to visit and speak to his brother by the centre‘s officials, Ashok Kumar said there were 60 other inmates at the centre and that a specific mechanism should be evolved to protect such patients.
Yogeswaran, a diesel mechanic, said he was admitted to Manshree for treatment in March. According to him there were at least 70 other patients at the centre, and that their treatment was just brutal assault and detention in cramped rooms. He claimed that in a 15x10 ft room, more than 30 were made to sleep for days. He said there was not even a single doctor to treat and take care of the inmates.
Noting that the Tamil Nadu Private Clinical Establishments (Regulation) Act 1997 and the Mental Act 1987 mandated registration procedures, petitioners said most of such centres in Tamil Nadu were unregistered.
Treatment such as beating and assault were not recognised by these acts, which also do not permit persons without professional qualifications and expertise to run such centres, they said.
The petitions wanted the court to direct the authorities to form a committee to look into the functioning of de–addiction centres in Tamil Nadu, and to restrain these two centres from functioning any further.