Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday rapped the state officials for non-utilisation of Rs 1.83 crore of central funds allotted to mental health centres resulting in its lapse and described it as a 'shame' on governance.
The court found that out of Rs 2.5 crore received by the Thiruvananthapuram Mental Health Centre during the fiscal ending March 31, 2010, only about Rs 1.39 crore had been utilised. "This is a matter of Constitutional and institutional shame on the face of under privileged," it held.
In two other instances, Rs 26 lakh allotted to district mental health centres in Kozhikode and Thrissur and Rs 46 lakh allotted to strengthen the psychiatric wing of a government medical college was found unspent.
"This is a shame on the face of governance," the court said.
"It is high time the state government take up the issue and fix responsibility, including dereliction of duty and violation of human rights on 'irresponsible' officers and consider initiating prosecution against them, Justice Thothathil B Radhakrishnan," said in his order.
"If you can't why cling on as leeches for your sustenance at their cost?", the Judge asked in stinging observations.
The lapse was noticed by the court when it came across a CAG report while exercising its jurisdiction on monitoring of mental health centres.
The court also directed the state government to produce a detailed action plan in three weeks touching the unutilised balance funds during the different years.
Justice Radhakrishnan also urged the legislators, executive and judicial officers to 'think loud' for the unfortunate people labelled as mentally challenged.
"This court in this jurisdiction, bleeds from the heart, but it cannot remain as a sober spectator to this administrative impotence". "Tears flow, but honourable judges are to hold that back," the court said.
The judge noted that the Health and Family Welfare department's plea was one of passing the blame. They accuse the Public Works Department (PWD). The "slumber" of PWD officials seems to be "chronic" that it may require some treatment in mental health centre, the court pointed out.
If the different wings of government cannot function in unison, it may amount to failure of Constitutional machinery as far as management of these establishments were concerned, the Judge said and held the state cannot have any excuse of lack of cooperation between its departments.
Story first published:
July 10, 2012 20:31 IST