Provide an Appropriate Number of Short and Long-Term Care Facilities for Mental Ill Inmates: High Court Orders Delhi Govt


Decided on: 26th June 2023

+ CRL.A. 161/2011



The High Court of Delhi has urged the government of Delhi to guarantee that an appropriate amount of short and long-term care home is provided for mentally ill convicts who do not need frequent hospitalization and do not have houses to return to in order to live in a secure environment. A division bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Poonam A. Bamba stated: “It is the bounden duty of the State to take care of the life of all its citizens.”

Facts of the Case

In Charanjit Singh & Ors. v. State & Ors., a Coordinate Bench instructed the State to establish Short or Long Stay residences for convicts suffering from mental illness who do not require hospitalisation.

The panel was hearing an appeal filed by Madhu Bala, a murder offender who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia during his trial and is currently receiving treatment as an outpatient at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS).

Bala was arrested in September 2005, and his treatment at IHBAS began in May 2009. On August 21, 2010, the trial court condemned her for charges punishable under Sections 302 and 326 of the IPC, which she contested in court. Bala also attempted to get her life sentence commuted.

Courts Analysis and Decision

Bala, who has been in and out of IHBAS since her conviction, was ultimately sent to Saksham, a Half Way stay home on the IHBAS campus, on March 3, 2017. She has been detained since then.

The court took notice of IHBAS’s medical report, which said that according to her most recent examination on February 20, her paranoid schizophrenia is in remission and she is thus fit to defend herself. As a result, the court heard Bala’s appeal on the merits after allowing her counsel to visit her at the Halfway house at IHBAS.

Observing that Bala was in judicial custody even when admitting to the Short Stay Home and that her stay would be counted towards her custody duration, the court changed her conviction for the death of the deceased from Section 302 to Section 304(1) of the IPC.

The court, however, upheld her conviction for an offence punishable under Section 326 of the IPC.

Concerning a woman’s injuries, including the ten-year term she received for the offence. The judge noted that she had already served the time in jail.

“Furthermore, the sentence for an offense punished under Section 304 Part 1 IPC is reduced to a 12-year prison sentence.” The appellant has been in the role of the appellant for 18 years. As a result, it is held that the petitioner has already served the term imposed for an offense punishable under Section 304(1) IPC,” the court stated. The bench further noted that following her time at the IHBAS Short time Home, Bala’s mental state had improved incrementally, allowing her counsel to engage with her.

“Because the appellant is unable to care for herself, even though the schizophrenia is currently in remission, and none of her family members are capable of looking after her, it is the responsibility of the State to take sufficient care of Madhu Bala and other similar patients, for the reason that the Short/ Long Stay Residences have been established,” the court stated.

It directed that Bala remains in the Long Stay Home at IHBAS and that the State bear the costs of all necessary care, including her stay. “A copy of this judgment should also be sent to the GNCTD’s Principal Secretary (Home), Principal Secretary (Health), Director General (Prisons), and Medical Superintendent, IHBAS for their records.”

Judgment- click here to review the judgment 

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Written by- Anushka Satwani

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