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Depression Can Be Classified As Serious Illness In Context Of COVID-19 Pandemic: Gujarat High Court

The Gujarat High Court set aside the cancellation of registration and admission of an engineering student by a government college for not appearing for requisite exams due to depression and suicidal thoughts amid the pandemic

Depression Can Be Classified As Serious Illness In Context Of COVID-19 Pandemic: Gujarat High Court
Highlights
  • The petitioner suffered depressive cycle during the period of COVID
  • It was a period of wide-spread despondency: High Court
  • He could not convey his feeling of depression: Petitioner's parents

Ahmedabad: Depression can be classified as a serious illness, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gujarat High Court has observed, while setting aside the cancellation of registration and admission of an engineering student by a government college for not appearing for requisite exams due to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Also Read: Consultations For Anxiety, Depression, Gaming Addiction Doubled During COVID-19 Pandemic: Study

The court issued the order on August 31 and a copy of it was made available on Thursday. The academic performance review committee of the Surat-based Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) in October 2020 cancelled the registration and admission of the first-year B Tech (Bachelor of Technology) student, for not earning 25 credits needed for getting promoted to the next semester.

The student challenged this in the HC on the ground that he had suffered from “severe depressive episodes with suicidal ideation”, which started in January 2020 and peaked in May-June last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, which is why he could not appear for the examination.

In the facts and circumstances of the case and more particularly in the context of the currency of the pandemic period, the depressive state of mind and the depression created in the petitioner student, can be classified as serious illness, the court of Justice N V Anjaria observed.

The depressive cycle which the petitioner suffered was during the period of COVID-19 pandemic itself. It was a period of wide-spread despondency, the court noted. It is reasonable to believe that the situation brought about by the pandemic created an adverse effect on the tender-mind of the petitioner, who disengaged himself from the studies, it further said.

Also Read: Study Suggests Strategies To Support Kids’ Mental Health During COVID-19 Pandemic

The ground advanced by the petitioner could be viewed as genuine as there is nothing to disbelieve the same. The stand of the respondent Institute to doubt is insensitive and departs from the facts stated in the letter of the parents fortified by the certificate of doctor. The reason given by the petitioner has to be appreciated in the special circumstance of the pandemic period, the HC observed in its order.

The court, in its interim order on April 23, 2021, allowed the petitioner to appear for the supplementary examination in May 2021, which he passed to secure the requisite credits to be promoted to the next semester.

The reason given by the petitioner has to be appreciated in the special circumstance of the pandemic period. It is the very reason of depressive tendencies developed in the mind of the petitioner during the pandemic which prevented him from applying on medical ground under the said Regulation (of the institute that requires a student to apply prior to the last day of examination if unable to take the exam on medical ground), it said.

Apart from cancelling the registration and admission of the petitioner, the institute had also rejected his subsequent requests to reconsider its decision, which he had challenged in the high court through his lawyer Ronith Joy.

The institute had argued before the court that the case of the petitioner on medical grounds is governed by its regulation that necessitates that a student file an application prior to the last day of examination.

The student had failed to make any such application, it argued, and further stated that the petitioner had not reported any medical illness even while he stayed in a hostel between January and March 2020.

As per the petitioner’s parents, he could not convey his feeling of depression to them due to his introvert nature, and they learnt about it as late as September 2020, when the institute refused to accept the fee for his third semester on account of his termination.

The student’s parents then made several requests to the institute to reconsider its decision and give another chance to their son, but to no avail. In their last communication dated December 25, 2020 with the institute, the parents annexed a doctor’s certificate that stated the patient was “diagnosed with severe depressive episodes with suicidal ideation currently in partial remission”.

His problem started in January 2020, reached its peak in May-June (2020) and now decreased in severity and for that he is put on appropriate treatment, the doctor’s certificate said.

Also Read: Impact Of COVID-19 On The Mental Health Of Children And How Parents Can Help Them

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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World

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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