Depression Can Be Classified As Serious Illness: Guj HC
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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.

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.