Kerala High Court: The Division Bench of K.Vinod Chandran and C.Jayachandran, JJ., slammed the Kerala State Commission for Child Rights for directing psychiatric treatment for wife of the accused without any jurisdiction. Expressing anguish over the factum that the Commission had aided the accused in trespassing the house of the victim and forcefully admitting her in the hospital, the Bench remarked,
“The case is very distressing insofar as, the 4th respondent, prima facie has been attempting to style his wife as a mental patient before various forums. By the continued harassment by the 4th respondent; employed in the Law Department of the State and was also once appointed as a temporary Magistrate, who was wont to use his official clout to witch-hunt the wife and children.”
The wife-daughter of the petitioner had filed a divorce application before the Family Court, and that provoked the husband who attempted to portray the wife as a mental patient, which till date was not successful. The petitioner alleged that the respondent 4, son-in-law of the petitioner and the father of the children, had trespassed into the rental house of the detenue with about ten persons and forcefully took them away. It was also alleged that all the three, the mother (petitioner’s daughter) and the children were injected with some medicines making them unconscious and subsequently, the mother was admitted in the hospital by respondent 4, without any valid cause.
The petitioner had approached the Court in a writ of habeas corpus, seeking production of his daughter and grand children. Moved by the grievances of the petitioner, the Bench observed, “The writ petition narrates a sad tale of marital discord, from the very inception of the marriage and the wife being evicted from the marital home after giving birth to two children. The mother and children resigned to their fate were residing in a rental accommodation when the husband-the 4th respondent relentlessly harassed them in one manner or other.”
Noticeably, during the divorce proceedings, the application made by the respondent 4 under the Mental Health Care Act, 2007 to portray the wife as a mental patient was rejected by the Magistrate Court; yet the mother (wife of respondent 4) had been forcefully admitted to the Sacred Heart Hospital for psychological treatment, and the children were separated from her by the respondent 4. Considering the gravity of the matter, the Bench conducted the psychological test of the mother and children in the Court chamber by one Dr.Priya to assess their mental status. The doctor informed the Court that the petitioner’s daughter did not seem to be suffering from any psychotic illness and that her disturbed mental status, was only due to the stress she had undergone in her life and the horrendous incident she was subjected to recently, of forceful admission in a mental institution and separation from her children.
Kerala Child Rights Commission
Distressed by the manner of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights with which it had proceeded in the instant case, the Bench stated that it was appalling that the Commission thought it fit to direct the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO), to submit a mental status report of the persons. The DCPO submitted a report pointing out that, the mother is very lean and that she wears five Rudraksha chains and there are photographs of Christian, Hindu and Islam religions in their house. The mother also is said to have the habit of cleaning the residential premises in the morning and in the evening. It was also reported that the mother and children were living without much social contacts.
On the above grounds, the DCPO recommended that the welfare of the mother and children should be monitored with the assistance of the respondent 4. The Commission based on the report of the DCPO directed psychiatric treatment to be given to the wife of the respondent 4 which was totally without jurisdiction. The Bench slammed the commission for putting the DCPO in charge of the children and directing him to approach the Station House Officer for appropriate treatment to be given to the family without any mental status examination by a competent Doctor. The Bench remarked,
“More distressing is the fact that on the strength of this order, the 4th respondent along with ten persons have trespassed into the rented residence of his wife and children and forcefully taken them away.”
Disturbing Conduct of the Accused Husband
The Bench found it surprising that the respondent 4 took it upon himself to separate the wife and the children and admit the wife in a Mental Hospital, when, a valid proceeding initiated for providing psychiatric treatment to the wife was rejected by the competent Court, especially when respondent 4 was a lawyer and was Section Officer in Law Department. The respondent 4 was also said to have served as a temporary Magistrate in the judicial service and it was not as if he did not know the tone and purport of the order of the Commission, which, even if passed with jurisdiction, did not clothe the respondent 4 with the authority to take the children or admit the wife, forcefully to a mental institution for psychiatric treatment.
On an evaluation done by the Psychiatrist and after evaluating the materials on record, the Bench allowed the daughter of the petitioner and the children to go with the petitioner. Respondent 4 was directed not to interfere in their life. The Station House Officer was directed to go to the house of the petitioner and record the statement of his daughter and her children and take it to logical conclusion if any cognizable offence is detected.
The Hospital was directed to produce the entire treatment records of the daughter of the petitioner. Additionally, the petitioner was directed to ensure that his daughter and the children are taken to Dr Priya, at the Government Medical College. Similarly, the respondent 4 was also directed to appear before the Doctor for check-ups. [Balakrishnan v. Inspector General of Police, WP(Crl.) No. 413 of 2021(S), decided on 06-12-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For the Petitioner: Lisy T. Skaria, Advocate