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3358/2010 IN THE MATTER OF: Court on its own motion Versus State ...Plaintiff ...Respondents
AFFIDAVIT ON BEHALF OF GNCTD in compliance with the Hon'ble Court's directions vide order 10th November 2010 I, Sunil Kumar, aged 54 years, S/o Shri Krishan Chand Gupta, R/o Bungalow No. A3, Jail Road, Tihar, New Delhi-110064, Law Officer, Delhi Jails, GNCTD, do hereb y solemnly state and affirm as under: 1. That in my official capacity I am aware of the facts and circumstances of the case from the records kept in the ordinary course and am competent to sw ear this affidavit. 2. That in compliance of the directions issued by this Hon'ble Court on 1 0.11.2010, a meeting was organized at IHBAS under the Chairmanship of Dr. Desai, Director (IHBAS), on 07.03.2011, to discuss and deliberate on the Proposed Guid elines as filed by IHBAS before this Hon'ble Court. The same was attended by Off icials from Tihar Jail (Psychiatrists as well as the Law Officer) and senior fac ulty members from the Department of Psychiatry, IHBAS. 3. That there is complete agreement and concurrence between the Officials f rom Tihar Jail and IHBAS over the said Proposed Guidelines of IHBAS, which are a lready on record before this Hon'ble Court. 4. That a request for recruitment of trained manpower/ staff and adequate r ound-the-clock medical infrastructure supported by Medical Officers, Psychiatric Nurses and other Paramedical Staff to run a complete mental healthÂcare unit withi n the Jail Premises, has been forwarded to the Competent Authority and the Gover nment is seized of the matter. That it is submitted that all efforts are being m ade to fulfill these requirements expeditiously so as to enable meaningful imple mentation of the Proposed Guidelines. 5. That the direction stands duly complied with. This Hon'ble Court may pas s any such further orders/ directions as is deemed fit and proper in the facts a nd circumstance of the case and the answering respondent is duty-bound to honour the same.
DEPONENT Verification:Verified at New Delhi on this ________ day of March, 2011 that the averments mad e above are true.
Guidelines for Ld. Magistrates in dealing with mentally ill prisoners (undertria l or convicted) referred by Jail Authorities Brief Background Mental Health is a science of human thoughts, emotions and behaviour. The law on the other hand sets boundaries of acceptable behaviour to enable mentally compe tent persons to be part of social, economic and political life of the community. Any behaviour which does not fit in society's norms is considered defiant irres pective of the reason. The law regulates human conduct which itself is a manifes tation of human mind. Thus for law to regulate the human behaviour it is essenti al for law personnel to understand human mind and it's functioning. There is no single test of mental abnormality suitable in all situations so it is important to consider the objective of testing, possible impact of mental illness in the p articular function. Also the type of mental disorder needs to be considered befo re interpreting the legal implications. The central principle that underlies the legal approach is the need to ensure that an act can have legal effect or respo nsibility if there is clear link between the mind of the doer and act in questio n. There has been sufficient literature evidence that prisoners (under trials and c onvicted) have significant amount of mental health morbidity both subsyndromal a nd syndromal. Mostly this aspect remains ignored or neglected because of lack of awareness and sensitization among judicial officers. The concept of mental illn ess has changed significantly subsequent to multitude of research over decades a cross the globe. The society still holds a very stereotypical image of psychiatr ic patients' inspite of entire spectrum of mental illnesses ranging from anxiety , adjustment disorders, depression and drug and alcohol abuse to psychosis. It i s pertinent that each psychiatric condition should be dealt differently with ind ividual considerations. OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES 1. Scientific concept of mental illnesses versus legal concept of unsound mi nd The spectrum of psychiatric disorders goes beyond the legal concept of unsoundne ss of mind. There is a need to understand the concept of common mental disorder in which the person may retain the capacity of logical reasoning but yet may not be able to control his impulses and other emotions. 2. Immediate admission for suicide risk The need for prompt identification and immediate referral to the mental health f acility (IHBAS) for detailed evaluation and management of high risk cases e.g. a cute suicidal state, homicidal behaviour, psychotic excitement etc. in all such cases urgent reception orders may be passed for in patient treatment under secti on 27 of Mental Health Act, 1987. In all such cases court must err on the side o f safety of the patient. 3. Referral to IHBAS for other cases of self injurious behaviour All prisoners with issues of repeated deliberate self harm, self injurious behav iour should be assessed and treated at the mental health unit of Central jail Ti har for underlying Psychiatric illnesses. In some of the cases with management p roblems can be referred to IHBAS. 4. Management at Tihar fail for other cases All prisoners with common mental disorders e.g. depressive disorders, anxiety di sorders, problems of drug abuse which are persistent and interfering with day to day functioning require mental health assessment and they should be treated at
the mental health unit of Central Jail Tihar. 5. Specific referral to IHBAS The Central Jail, Tihar has now fully functional Mental Health Unit with two qua lified psychiatrists with fully equipped medical hospital. Most of the common me ntal disorders can be managed by the Mental Health Unit and only cases with high suicidal risk, homicidal risk and with issues of treatment resistance should be referred to IHBAS for assessment and management. All these cases after assessme nt and initial management to be referred back to mental health unit of Central J ail, Tihar for further treatment. 6. In summary, a graded approach for assessment in management a. Level-I: Mental Health Unit of Central Jail, Tihar. There is now fully functional mental health unit with inpatient facilities along with two qualified psychiatrists. Most of the patients with common mental disor ders can be managed at this level. b. Level-II: IHBAS Psychiatry OPD Some of the cases with complex clinical and psycho-social issues may be referred by a Committee of Doctors (Quoram-2) of the Jail Authority comprising a Clinica l Psychologist a Psychiatrist and a Medical Officer. c. Level-III: IHBAS Psychiatry Ward (guideline no.- 2) Cases with high suicide risk, homicidal risk, difficult to treat cases (treatmen t resistance) and for medical board opinion. All these cases after management can follow up with the Mental Health Unit of Ce ntral Jail, Tihar. 7. Human RigHits of Mentally ill prisoners The Human Rights of mentally ill persons are also applicable to mentally ill pri soners. 8. Finalization of Guidelines by joint collaboration The directions of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi to IHBAS to submit guidelines for Ld. Magistrates in dealing with mentally ill prisoners referred by Jail Auth orities is certainly a very welcome and praiseworthy step and this specific dire ction came from the case of Mrs. Sonali Sachdeva, under trial referred from Cent ral Jail, Tihar so that similar cases should not suffer in future. These guideli nes have been prepared based on the experiences of IHBAS regarding mentally ill prisoners. It is suggested that IHBAS along with Law officers of Central Jail, T ihar, CMO/SMO/MO of Central Jail, Tihar and IG prisons can sit together to evolv e guidelines involving the process of mutual consensus. This process involves mu ltiple agencies and IHBAS would like to further revise these guidelines in consu ltation with all these agencies in a collaborative manner so that comprehensive guidelines for mentally ill prisoners could be issued by the Hon'ble High Court. Added Note It has been repeatedly observed by the Hon'ble High Court and National Human Rig hts Commission that most of the mentally ill prisoners are languishing in the ja ils and at various mental health facilities without any reasons which violates t he basic human rights of these individuals. It is further suggested to the Hon'b le High Court to evolve appropriate mechanisms to examine this issue and take ne cessary steps for long term care of these individuals. Approved on behalf of Institute of Human Behaviour and Applied Sciences (IHBAS): DR. N.G. DESAI Director, IHBAS & Member Secretary State Mental Health Authority Approved on behalf of Delhi Jails: MR. SUNIL KUMAR
Law Officer, Delhi Jails, GNCTD
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