People with mental illness also have all the rights

Bhilai, Feb 23: Under the directions of District and Sessions Judge Rajesh Srivastava (Chairman, District Legal Services Authority), initiatives are being taken to ensure the rights of mentally ill persons in the district. In this sequel, District Legal Services Authority Secretary Rahul Sharma conducted inspection at the mental patients ward in the district hospital with the aim of bringing awareness. He informed that with the objectives to ensure that the mentally ill or mentally disabled are not stigmatized and they are dealt with as individuals who are to be helped to enforce all rights they are entitled to and as assured to them by law, the National Legal Services Authority (Legal Services to the Mentally Ill and Mentally Disabled Persons) Scheme, 2015 has been introduced.

As Citizens of India, the mentally ill people are entitled to all those human and fundamental rights which are guaranteed to each and every citizen by the Constitution of India. Their disability does not prevent them from enjoying those rights. Article 21 of the Constitution mentions about right to live with human dignity, right to health, right to potable water, right to pollution free environment and right to education etc. These rights are applicable in the context of mentally ill person also.

The right of a mentally ill person to receive treatment is assured by law and is equally applicable to all mentally ill persons. Due to lack of information about mentally ill persons or due to superstition or lack of means or illegal confinement arising out of stigma etc, they are deprived of getting treatment.

The Legal Services Authority is conducting awareness programmes in this regard and people will be educated that mental illness is treatable. In addition to this, people will be made aware that it is necessary to treat such people in a normal manner and with sympathy.

During the awareness camp, efforts will be made to remove confusion and misconceptions about mental disabilities. Efforts will be made to educate the family members and relatives of such psychiatric persons regarding their rights related to property and other legal rights. Under Section 19 of the Mental Health Act 1987, there is a provision that the application for the treatment in psychiatric hospital and psychiatric nursing home can be made by the relatives or close friend. It was also informed that after receiving applications under Section-20 and Section-21, there is a provision to admit the mentally ill person for treatment in the mental hospital. Further, the rights and responsibilities of the police have been mentioned under Section-23 and Section-25. According to Section-53, there is a provision to appoint a guardian for mentally ill person. As per Section 54, where the mentally ill person is not able to take care of his personal property, there is a provision that District Court can issue order to appoint the guardian for protection of his property. The guardian will be appointed by the district administration. According to Section 56, the appointed guardian will sign a bond that he will protect the property of the mentally ill person. There are many such laws in the country in which mental patients have been provided security, but due to lack of information, they continue to suffer. Sometimes they become victim of disregard of society and sometimes they fall victims for their own relatives.

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