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The Delhi High Court Tuesday pulled up the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for delaying the construction of shelters for mentally ill people who are found abandoned on the streets.

DDA faced the ire of the court when it submitted that it had zeroed down on seven sites in the capital where shelters can be opened for mentally ill people.

A division bench of Justices A.K.Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke, however, expressed displeasure over the DDA’s state of affairs and summoned the its Commissioner (Land and Management) and Secretary (Land and Development Authority) on May 26 to explain the delay.

The shelters are to opened in all the nine districts of the capital.

The court expressed dissatisfaction to the fact that DDA has managed to select only seven shelters amongst the 18 that are proposed.

The court also expressed surprise over the fact that even the possession of the these seven proposed shelters are not with the social welfare department.

The court also directed the police to amend the present training module and add a chapter relating to the handling of mentally ill people.

The court also mooted the idea of sensitising magistrates to the nature of such people.

The court observation came after a petition referred to a former model, Gitanjali Nagpal, who was found begging on the streets of the capital.

The bench was hearing a public suit by a Delhi University law student, Pratibha Chopra, drawing the court’s attention towards the plight of mentally ill people in the capital.

The petitioner referred to Nagpal’s case and said there were more than 2,500 women in Delhi who are mentally ill and were not receiving any aid from the government, which had led to their exploitation.

Nagpal, 32, who once walked the ramp for top designers, was last year found begging at a market in south Delhi. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) took her to the VIMHANS hospital, where doctors diagnosed her to be suffering from fear psychosis.


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