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More steps needed for welfare of mentally challenged: Court

Gandhinagar, July 12 (Calcutta Tube) The Gujarat High Court Monday took the central and state governments to task for their lack of initiative in attending to the welfare of the mentally challenged, including orphans and beggers.

‘Just acts (laws) are not enough when there are children and beggers on the streets. Your initiative to do something for them is required,’ said Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya when counsel for the Gujarat government P.K. Jani enumerated the central and state laws in force and the measures being taken to deal with the situation.

Reacting to the state government’s submission and Jani’s plea, the chief justice commented: ‘I have not seen any effort initiated by you in last eight months since I am here. I can still see beggars and mentally challenged persons on street. So what steps have been taken?’

Joseph Chelliah, who has filed a public interest litigation seeking the high court’s intervention, said that the division bench of Chief Justice Mukhopadhaya and Justice K.M.Thaker asked the central government to file a counter affidavit giving steps that the state government should take to improve the living condition of the mentally challenged.

Chelliah’s lawsuit sought directions to the central government for either safeguarding the mentally challenged’s right to life or allow their mercy killing.

Further hearing of the case is scheduled for later in July.

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