Assam Northeast

Assam CM Sarma’s comment was immoral: Jailed MLA Akhil Gogoi’s lawyer

Jailed Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi’s lawyer on Tuesday evening raised concerns on the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s comment on not allowing Gogoi to attend the Assembly Sessions owing to his “mental health condition”.

Gogoi’s lawyer, Santanu Borthakur points out that Assam CM Sarma’s comment that makes mental illness, which is supposed to be confidential between the patient and the doctor, a public knowledge, as “immoral” under Mental Health Care Act 2017.

“There are provisions in Section 13 of Mental Health Care Act, 2017, to prevent people from announcing openly about somebody’s mental health due to the social stigma associated to it. The way Assam CM had said shows how intolerant he is about these diseases,” Borthakur had mentioned on a Facebook post on Monday evening.

“This comment doesn’t go along his reputation as Assam’s CM. One has to hate someone to a great extent for making such comments,” Borthakur said.

CM Sarma, in his address in the Assembly on Monday, the last day of the first session after forming the 15th government, had said that Gogoi is undergoing psychiatric treatment at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

“How can a patient be allowed to attend Assembly sessions? If he indeed is sick, he should remain in the paying ward of the hospital and if he is fit, then he should return to his cell in Jail,” Sarma told the House replying to a point of order raised by Congress legislator Bharat Narah last Monday.

Akhil Gogoi, an RTI activist who was arrested for his role in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act since December 2019, had last Friday taken his oath as a member in the Assam Legislative Assembly after winning from Sivasagar constituency in the recently concluded elections the results of which were declared on May 2.

He was, however, taken to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and was denied to attend the Assembly after his oath taking ceremony by the speaker.

Borthakur, further asked his Facebook followers, “Imagine how mentally stressful our lockdowns were. Akhil Gogoi had been in that condition for much longer than us.”

Lok Sabha MP and Congress leader, Pradyut Bordoloi tweeted, “Belittling an opposition colleague #AkhilGogoi as a psychiatric patient in the assembly was not only a parliamentary impropriety but was also in extremely bad taste coming from a CM. Are you aspiring to go to the next level?”

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