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Depression During COVID-19 Can Be Classified As Serious Illness: Gujarat HC

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Depression During COVID 19: The Gujarat High Court observed today that depression can be classified as a serious illness, especially in the context of the current pandemic. It was setting aside the cancellation of registration and admission of an engineering student by a government college in Surat, Gujarat. The student had failed to appear for examination due to his mental health condition.

The court order came on 31st August, however, a copy of the order was released only today. The student who studied in Surat-based Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) had failed to earn 25 credits which are required for for getting promoted to the next semester, due to which the college cancelled his admission. He was dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.

The student had challenged the cancellation of admission saying he was battling “severe depressive episodes with suicidal ideation” from January 2020 till the mid of the year and thus could not write his exams.

Justice N V Anjaria who was hearing the case noted that the period was that of “wide-spread despondency”. And said, “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 HC in its order observed that the plea can be viewed as genuine. There is nothing disbelievable about the circumstances of the plaintiff and to doubt it would be insensitive. Moreover, the mental health condition cited was further fortified by the certificate of a doctor. It is agreed that these are special circumstances of the pandemic period.

The court earlier in an interim order dated April 23, 2021, had allowed the petitioner to sit for the supplementary examination in May 2021. In which he secured the requisite credits points that are required for getting promoted to the next semester.