he Supreme Court on Monday directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to transfer a Dutch national, who is lodged in a jail in Jammu and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, to a specialised hospital in the national capital.
A bench comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mithal took note of the submissions of lawyer Rohan Garg, appearing for jailed Richard De Wit, and directed that the inmate be treated at a specialised medical centre in New Delhi.
The top court said after the treatment, Wit be transferred back to Jammu jail to face the trial and his family be allowed to visit him during his stay in the hospital here.
The court disposed of the plea with these directions.
The bench, on April 21, had sought the response of the Jammu and Kashmir administration on the plea seeking direction to the authorities for providing him proper medical treatment for his ailment, paranoid schizophrenia, at a specialised hospital.
The petitioner, 53-year-old Richard De Wit, who was arrested in April 2013 in Srinagar in connection with a murder case and is currently lodged in Jammu district jail, has said in his plea that he has been in jail for nearly 10 years and his medical condition is deteriorating as no proper treatment for the disease is available in the prison.
The petitioner had sought his transfer from district jail, Jammu, to a specialised medical facility in New Delhi or to the Netherlands for proper treatment.
The petition had said since adequate medical treatment for the ailment is not available in J&K, the petitioner’s fundamental right, the right to health, is being violated.
“Right to health is an inseparable part of the right to life and an inherent and inescapable part of a dignified life. It is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” it had said.
The plea had urged the apex court to permit the petitioner to travel to the Netherlands for proper treatment at one of the two specialised centres there for treatment with an undertaking that he shall come back and face the trial upon being cured.
The petitioner had said the court concerned had suspended the trial against him in July 2021 owing to his medical condition.
“The trial has been suspended since July 3, 2021 but the petitioner continues to be deprived of adequate medical treatment. In fact, the direction by the trial court on July 3, 2021 to isolate the petitioner in the central jail for treatment may even worsen the petitioner’s mental condition,” it had said.
The plea said an unfortunate incident took place on a houseboat on Dal Lake in Srinagar in April 2013 when a British woman was found dead in her room.
The petitioner, who was also staying in a separate room on the same houseboat, was accused of being the offender and falsely implicated in the case, the plea had said.
It had claimed the trial court has been repeatedly informed by the medical board that adequate infrastructure is not present there to deal with the petitioner’s case and that he be shifted to a specialised facility.
The plea had said the petitioner has been a patient of paranoid schizophrenia since his early years when he was in the Netherlands and also underwent therapy there.