The Madras High Court has ordered that people with intellectual disabilities need not be taken to a hospital for obtaining a certificate. Madras HC has directed health professionals to do mental health diagnosis of applicants at their doorsteps.
“It must not cause any difficulty or trauma or even the least burden to the individual concerned. I take judicial notice of the fact that bringing such persons to a congested place like the government hospital would trigger considerable stress and anxiety to them. One does not know what can trigger panic and anxiety. There are children who see an ordinary balloon will go berserk,” said Justice G R Swaminathan.
Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of laws. But unequals cannot be treated equally. Persons with severe disabilities will have to be treated on a different footing altogether, he said.
The order was passed on a petition filed by TR Ramanathan of West Mambalam seeking orders to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to issue his 61-year-old son Saikumar a certificate.
“Tamil Nadu can boast of possessing one of the best health infrastructures in the country. It is being helmed by persons of competence. When community certificates are received at doorstep, can the State not apply the same model in the case of persons with disability also?” the court said.