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Times of India
09 September 2011
Psychiatrist Dr Fabian Almeida who has been running a day care centre here for five years says society doesn’t even want them sitting on benches as their ‘infection’ may spread
Kalyan society tells doc not to allow mentally ill patients outside clinic
Office bearers of a Kalyan society have asked a psychiatrist operating from a clinic on the ground floor not to allow his patients to either play or loiter in the compound.
Dr Fabian Almeida, a consulting psychiatrist, runs the day care centre from 10 am to 4 pm at Shree Yashoda Vinayak Sankul in Kalyan (W). The patients, who are mentally deficient, are taken out to play for half an hour every day as part of their therapy. Dr Almeida has been operating the clinic from these premises for the last five years and says he has all the required licenses to do so.

However, recently some members of the society approached him saying that his patients are not allowed to sit or play in the compound as they were a ‘hazard’ to the building’s residents.

A few days later another resident walked up to one of his patients and yelled at them. “The 40–year–old patient went into a shell and wouldn’t speak for two hours. The therapy went gone down the drain,” Dr Almeida said.

Patients not allowed
To use compound loo
Kalyan society tells doc not to allow mentally ill patients outside clinic
He added that he was told that his patients sitting on the bench in the compound could result in the ‘infection spreading’. “The member told me that the germs from mentally ill patients could spread to others in the society. I was sternly told not to allow them to sit on the bench. Even the common toilet in the compound is not to be used by my patients,” said Almeida adding, “Other shopkeepers and even vendors are allowed to use the common toilet. But, the society had a problem with my patients using the loo.”

The doctor has a loo in his clinic but not many patients are comfortable using it as it has a western commode. Dr Almeida’s Wellspring Counselling Clinic is only one of its kind right up till Dadar.

Society demands several
Thousands of rupees in arrears
“I tried reasoning with the society that the patients are on path to recovery and will not cause any nuisance. I have been operating here for the past five years. However, when I realised that the society was being unreasonable I asked them to give me everything in writing,” he added.

Following this, the society submitted a two–page letter asking him to not use the compound in any manner. “When we allow other members to use the compound or terrace for functions we charge Rs 500 per day. If you intend on allowing your patients to play outside you will also have to pay up. Considering your patients have been doing so for several months you will have to pay dues amounting to several thousand rupees,” the letter signed by chairman, secretary and treasurer states.

It also states that for use of the compound in future he should obtain permission in advance and if his request is accepted he would have to pay Rs 500 per day.

A flabbergasted Dr Almeida said, “I am operating a legal clinic with all valid licences. I pay commercial tax to the authorities. Just because some members have a problem with my patients are not willing to accept the underprivileged I am not going to cow down.”

Legal expert: doc has
Rights to compound
Legal experts point out that the society’s demand and objections are unreasonable. “If the society feels that the clinic is a nuisance then they will have to approach the civic body for cancellation of his licence to operate from there. They must prove that clinic is a nuisance. It is not correct to have financial greed and make such demands,” said Advocate Vinod Sampat, who specialises in society matters.

He added that the society has no right to deprive the doctor of essential services like toilet or water. “Ideally, the society and the doctor can go to court and contest the claims. Under no circumstances can the society extort money from the doctor as a commercial property has as much right to common properties in a building as much as other residents,” said Sampat.

Vishwas Dharap, chairman of the society, told Mumbai Mirror, “The doctor’s right is restricted to his property which is inside the clinic. His patients are a hindrance for other residents and vehicles in the compound. Most importantly, he cannot use our common property for commercial purposes. We received complaints from residents and hence passed a resolution not to allow him use of the common area in the AGM.”

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