Haryana first to invoke provisions of Mental Healthcare Act: official

Rescues 23 ill-treated inmates in a raid on an illegal de-addiction centre on May 30

Taking a step forward in enforcing the provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 in true spirit, Haryana has pioneered in registering a case under Section 100 of the Act that mandates protection and rehabilitation of a person with “'mental illness” found wandering or otherwise.

An official with the Department of social justice and empowerment on Wednesday told The Hindu that the State had invoked the provisions of the Act.

This was done by incorporating Section 100 and related Sections in the FIR of a case where 23 inmates were rescued after a raid on an illegal de-addiction centre in Pinjore on May 30.

“This is a first such case across the country, where provisions of Section 100 have been incorporated and an FIR was registered accordingly. We raided an illegally run de-addiction centre in Pinjore on May 30. As many as 23 inmates were rescued. Most of them had injury marks and were subjected to ill-treatment,” said Dr. Aditya Kaushik, deputy director with the social justice and empowerment department in Haryana.

Dr. Kaushik said that the rescued drug addicts, who were between the age group of 15 years to 49 years were kept in rooms at the centre that were like prison cells with iron bars installed. “While police is probing the case and looking out for centre’s owner Karan Singh Sodhi, against whom the case has been registered, we are ensuring that victims are treated and rehabilitated and all this is being done under the provisions of Section 100 of the Act,” he said.

He said besides the social justice department, the health department, police and district administration are keeping a tab on rescued inmates, who have now been discharged after initial medical assistance given to them at the civil hospital in Panchkula. “They were provided psychiatric treatment and psychological assessment under police protection. Later, these inmates were handed over to their families through the Magistrate. We have developed a mechanism to track them untill they recover completely. Majority of them hail from neighbouring Punjab,” he said.

Section 100 (1) of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 mandates that every officer in-charge of a police station shall have a duty –– (a) to take under protection any person found wandering at large within the limits of the police station whom the officer has reason to believe has mental illness and is incapable of taking care of himself; or (b) to take under protection any person within the limits of the police station whom the officer has reason to believe to be a risk to himself or others by reason of mental illness. The sub clause (3) adds that every person taken into protection under sub-section (1) shall be taken to the nearest public health establishment as soon as possible but not later than twenty-four hours from the time of being taken into protection, for assessment of the person’s healthcare needs.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:59:38 PM |

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