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Panel to study conditions in KIMS, Dharwad

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Friday constituted a five-member panel of advocates to visit the Karnataka Institute of Mental Sciences (KIMS — asylum for mentally challenged) in Dharwad and submit to it by June 24 a report on the status and condition of the hospital.

Justice S.R. Bannurmath passed the order while reviewing the status of prisoners who are mentally challenged and the facilities provided to them by the State Government.

In 1994, Sheila Barse, a social activist, had written to the then Chief Justice of India about the woeful state of such prisoners. The Supreme Court had treated the letter as a public interest litigation (PIL) petition and directed the High Courts to regularly monitor the state of such prisoners.

The Karnataka High Court had issued a circular on March 30, 1994 to the judges of the lower courts directing them to visit jails in their jurisdiction and file reports on the status of such persons. The petitioner now, the Karnataka State Legal Aid Services Committee, had filed a report on the condition in Parappana Agrahara prison in Bangalore.

When the matter came up, Justice Bannurmath wanted a report on the facilities in the Dharwad hospital. He directed that a committee of advocates be set up.

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