Although the World Health Organization has not provided an official definition, mental health is commonly understood as the state of an individual’s mind that allows them to lead a fulfilling and joyful life. It is encouraging to note that in recent years, particularly following the pandemic, there has been an increasing recognition and prioritization of mental health among Indians.
When faced with mental cruelty, one way to achieve a healthy state of mind is to seek support from a psychiatrist. However, it can often be challenging to find an affordable psychiatrist in today’s costly world.
With an outstanding track record spanning 24 years, the reputed psychiatrist has established a highly regarded practice, receiving excellent feedback from his patients. His expertise lies in general adult Psychiatry, as well as rehabilitation and de-addiction. The psychiatrist completed his psychiatric training at the renowned National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore. He has made significant contributions to the field of Psychiatry, including notable research and academic endeavors. Additionally, he has made numerous media appearances and played a crucial role in the successful establishment and operation of a vital Suicide Helpline.
Even the psychiatrist, despite his accomplishments and contributions, has now become a victim of internal politics within the renowned Indian Psychiatric Society.
Under the law, any organization with more than 10 employees must adhere to certain requirements outlined in the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act of 2013, also known as the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act. This legislation provides guidelines for handling sexual harassment complaints, enabling affected individuals to file a complaint with the Internal Committee of their organization. Similarly, the Indian Psychiatric Society has established its own mechanism for addressing such incidents.
Nevertheless, there have been cases where the POSH Act has been exploited to maliciously defame individuals and harm their reputation.
The psychiatrist has been unjustly accused without any valid reason, causing him immense pain and suffering. His colleagues within the IPS organization falsely alleged that he engaged in “gender discrimination” and violated fundamental democratic principles and the POSH Act.
However, after conducting a thorough investigation and considering all the evidence presented by both parties, the Enquiry Committee concluded that there was no substantial evidence to support the complaint. The Committee recognized that the psychiatrist had merely become a victim of internal conflicts and political maneuvering within the organization. Consequently, the Committee cleared the aforementioned person of all charges, restoring his reputation in an honorable manner.
During the Annual General Body Meeting of the Indian Psychiatric Society on January 20, 2024, held at Hotel Le Meridian in Kochi, Kerala, a surprising turn of events occurred. Despite the absence of any mention of the POSH Committee in the meeting agenda, the topic was unexpectedly introduced and given priority over other matters. The decision was made to reject the Enquiry Report prepared by the POSH Committee. It is worth noting that the inclusion of this subject in the AGM was not originally planned or scheduled.
This action clearly demonstrates the authoritarian behavior of the Indian Psychiatric Society, as it exceeded its jurisdiction and authority by disregarding the report of the POSH Committee. Such actions are in direct contradiction to the purpose and principles of the Act. Therefore, the decision made by the Indian Psychiatric Society during the Annual General Body Meeting on January 20, 2024, is highly unreasonable and can be considered an abuse of power. In response to these actions, the psychiatrist, feeling aggrieved, filed a writ petition (WP No.5532/2024) before the Honorable High Court of Karnataka. Subsequently, on February 21, 2024, the Honorable High Court of Karnataka issued a stay order, revoking complainant’s suspension and further reference to the tribunal.
Just as Lord Krishna proclaimed in the Bhagavad Gita, “You have the right to perform your duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions.” These profound words hold true for the remarkable individual. Despite the challenges and tribulations he has faced, he continues to selflessly serve society, driven by a genuine desire to make a positive impact.
Note: This is a developing story and the author is in talks with the officials and higher authorities of the concerned organisation for further information.
The author Girish Linganna of this article is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru.
(Views expressed in the article are of author’s own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Business Upturn)