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MENTALLY ILL & THE LAW Madhurima, Prison Reforms Programme,

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Presentation on theme: "MENTALLY ILL & THE LAW Madhurima, Prison Reforms Programme,"— Presentation transcript:

1 MENTALLY ILL & THE LAW Madhurima, Prison Reforms Programme,
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

2 WHY SPECIAL CARE? Factum of incarceration adds to stigma of mental illness Inability to protect self Vulnerability due to lack of understanding of their actions

3 CATEGORIES persons who have been imprisoned but against whom there is no allegation of crime; persons who commit crimes when mentally ill and are consequently detained/imprisoned; and persons who develop mental health issues after commission of a crime and during custody e.g. while awaiting trial.

4 CATEGORY 1: Non-criminal mentally ill inmates
Non-criminal mentally ill inmates not to be detained in jail - The Mental Health Act, 1987 Imprisonment is unconstitutional per se and thus illegal - Sheela Barse Vs. Union of India and others

5 CATEGORY 2 & 3 Judicial Precedents NHRC Guidelines
Amended provisions of Cr.P.C.

6 JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS: Sheela Barse Vs. Union of India
Admission of non-criminal mentally ill persons in jails is illegal and unconstitutional. All mentally ill persons kept in various central, district and sub-jails must be medically examined immediately after admission. Specialized psychiatric help must be made available to all inmates who have been lodged in various jails/sub- jails. Each and every patient in a psychiatric unit must receive review or revaluation of developing mental problems. A mental health team comprising of clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurses and psychiatric social workers must be in place in every mental health facility.

7 NHRC GUIDELINES In order to prevent or to ensure early detection of mental illness, all prisoners should be provided psychiatric and psychological counseling. For this purpose, collaborations should be made with local psychiatric, medical institutions and non-governmental organisations. All jails should be formally affiliated to a mental hospital. Central and district jails should have facilities for preliminary treatment of mental disorder. Sub-jails should take inmates with mental illness to psychiatric facilities. Every central and district jail should have services of a qualified psychiatrist who would be assisted by a psychologist and a social worker trained in psychiatry. Mentally ill persons, who are not accused of a criminal offence, should not be kept or sent to prison.

8 NHRC GUIDELINES… All those kept in prison with mental illness and under observation of psychiatrist should be kept in one barrack. Preventive legal aid is required to check the abuse of law and dumping of the mentally ill in prisons. It is necessary to ensure that no mentally ill person is unrepresented in court. Under-trials/Convicts who become Mentally Ill in Prison The state has an affirmative responsibility towards an under-trial or a convict who becomes mentally ill while in prison. The state must provide adequate medical support. Appropriate facilities should be provided in state assisted hospitals for under-trials who become mentally ill in prison. In case such places are not available, the state must pay for the same medical care in a private hospital.

9 NHRC GUIDELINES… Mentally Ill Under-trials
Care should be provided until the recovery of the under-trial/convict. On completion of the period of sentence for a convict prisoner admitted to hospital for psychiatric care, his status in all records of prison and hospital should be recorded as a free person. He shall continue to receive treatment as a free person Mentally Ill Under-trials Mentally ill under-trials should be sent to the nearest prison having services of a psychiatric attached to a hospital. Each under-trial should be attended to by a psychiatrist who will send a periodic report to the judge/magistrate through the superintendent of the prisons regarding the condition of the individual and his fitness to stand trial.

10 NHRC GUIDELINES… When the under-trial recovers from mental illness, the psychiatrist should certify him as ‘fit to stand trial’. If the trial is suspended even for one day due to mental illness, a report should be sent to the relevant district and sessions judge as well as the magistrate on a quarterly basis i.e. every 3 months. As soon as it comes to the notice of the trial court that an under-trial is mentally ill and cannot understand the proceedings against him, the court must follow the procedure under Chapter XXV of the Cr.P.C.

11 LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS: Cr.P.C. Amendment Act 2008
Specific Provisions pertaining to persons of unsound mind – Sec Entitlement to Medical Examination and Treatment Power to Order Release upon Prima Facie Determination of Case Time Limit on Postponement of Trial Power to Release Accused on Bail on account of Mental Unsoundness

12 Entitlement to Medical Examination and Treatment
Section 328(1A) & 329(1A) If upon examination the accused is found to be of unsound mind, the court shall refer such a person to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist for care, treatment and prognosis of the condition. Prior to Amendment no such mandate was there.

13 Power to Order Release upon Prima Facie Determination of Case:
Sections 328(3) & 329(3) If court is satisfied that no prima facie case is made out against the accused of unsound mind and, Such person is incapable of entering defence Court can order discharge/release of such accused Exception to otherwise mandatory procedures for indefinite postponement of trial in respect of mentally ill persons.

14 Time Limit on Postponement of Trial
Court can order postponement of trial for such period, as in the opinion of psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, is required for treatment of accused

15 Power to Release Accused on Bail
Section 330 Court empowered to release on bail, whether case is one in which bail may be taken or not Bail may be granted where Accused is suffering from unsoundness of mind or mental retardation which does not mandate in patient treatment A friend or relative undertakes to obtain regular out patient treatment & prevent from doing injury to self or other person Where bail cannot be granted, court can order accused to be kept in such place where regular psychiatric treatment can be provided


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