The Delhi Government on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that it had prepared guidelines for the Tihar Central Jail authorities on how to treat mentally-ill inmates diagnosed with suicidal tendencies and other mental disorders.

Delhi Standing Counsel Najmi Waziri submitted before a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna that the guidelines had been prepared and notified after consultations between the jail authorities and senior faculty members of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Services.

The Government in an affidavit filed by the Law Officer, Delhi Jails, submitted that it was also looking into the feasibility of running a complete mental health care unit within the jail premises itself. It had forwarded a request to the competent authority for recruitment of trained staff, putting in place a round-the-clock medical infrastructure supported by medical officers, psychiatric nurses and other para-medical staff for that, the affidavit said.

The affidavit further said that efforts were being made to fulfil these requirements expeditiously to ensure meaningful implementation of the guidelines.

Prompt action

The guidelines say that the jail authorities should act promptly and refer the prisoners suffering from mental disorder to the Institute for treatment soon after he or she is diagnosed with homicidal behaviour.

All prisoners with common mental disorders, like depressive and anxiety disorders, drug abuse and repeated deliberate self-harm and self-injury behaviour should be assessed by the mental health unit of the central jail and, if required, should be immediately referred to the Institute for evaluation and treatment.

The Bench has taken up the matter for hearing on a letter written by an inmate of the jail drawing the attention of the Court to the absence of a separate medical care facility for mentally-ill prisoners several of whom have exhibited acute suicidal symptoms.

  • Guidelines notified after consultations between Tihar authorities and IHBAS faculty members
  • Govt. expediting the running a mental health care unit within the jail premises itself