The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday ordered the State Government to upgrade the Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (DIMHANS) to a higher psychiatric centre by March 1, 2022, as well as install and make operational the hospital's MRI machine.
According to an order issued by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum,
“We want to emphasise that this hospital shall be upgraded as a higher psychiatric centre at the earliest as the government itself has announced for upgrading. The delay due to lack of funds or for any other reason shall not be there. All steps shall be taken in this regard so that it may be made operational from March 1, 2022."
"Additional Advocate General Dhyan Chinnappa told the Court that the medical superintendent has been appointed.
He also submitted an affidavit promising that the hospital's MRI scanner will be installed by March 1, 2022.
In addition, he produced an affidavit saying that the hospital's MRI equipment installation will be done by March 1, 2022. During the hearing, the bench, on the other hand, stated,
"We are not satisfied with the explanation given for the delay in implementation of the project particularly the installation of MRI machine.
However, we are made to understand that a three months mandatory period is required as it (machine) has to be imported from outside the country, for which the order would be placed by December 1.
Let the machine be installed and made operational by March 1, 2022. As undertaken by the Principal Secretary, Medical Education Department."
During the hearing of a public interest case filed by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority in 1996, the instruction was delivered. The court ordered the state government to take immediate steps to procure an MRI machine with the necessary specifications for the use of DIMHANS in an order dated March 5, 2020.
It was also noted that in a vital institution like DIMHANS, the position of Medical Superintendent cannot be left empty.
After observing that the prior order had not been followed, the court said in its ruling of October 5, 2021, "It is really unfortunate that nothing has been done so far.
No compliance report has been filed, no MRI machine has been installed, no Medical Superintendent has been appointed so far. The Hospital in question is a State-run Hospital and it caters to the needs of poor people who do not have money for treatment in private Hospitals and therefore, now this Court is left with no other choice except to direct personal appearance of the Principal Secretary, Health Department in the matter."