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Indian Legal System And Mental Health

In many countries, there are contradicting opinions and mechanisms concerning the propriety of treatment and/or punishment for mentally ill individuals who commit crimes. People suffering with serious mental disorders are treated differently at each and every stage of criminal process in the criminal law and such individuals often have and require special needs in the structure. In spite of the fact that there was a rich tradition of legal framework during ancient days in India, the present judicial structure of the nation is mostly obtained from the British framework and is based on English Common Law, a framework of law based on recorded judicial precedents.

Prior legislations with regard to mental health were fundamentally concerned with custodial viewpoints of people with mental ailments and protection of the society. Indian laws are moreover concerned with ascertainment of competency, decreased obligation and/or welfare of the society. United Nations Convention for Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was adopted in 2006, which marks a transition with regard to disabilities (counting disability due to mental ailments) from a social welfare apprehension to a human right issue.

The new paradigm is based on assumption of lawful capacity, equality and dignity. After the approval of the convention by India in 2008, it was mandatory to amend all the disability laws to bring them in consonance with the UNCRPD. Subsequently, the Mental Health Act 1987 and Persons with Disability Act 1995 have been revised. Human right activists groups are pressing for provisions for legitimate capacity for people with mental ailments in absolute terms, while the psychiatrists are in favor of retaining provisions for involuntary hospitalization in extraordinary circumstances.

Indian Legal System alludes to the framework of laws which operate within the nation. Amidst the ancient times, there was a distinguished tradition of law, which had an autonomous school of legal theory as well as practice. Law as a matter of devout convention and philosophical discourse has a famous history in India. Amid the Islamic rule, Sharia law came to India, but that was pertinent as it were to the Muslim people.

During the rule of British Government in India there was a break in tradition, and the Hindu and the Islamic laws were uprooted by the common law. Consequently the present judicial framework of India concludes largely from the British system and encompasses a small relationship to the society of the pre-British period. Most of the current Indian Laws are generally based on the English Common Law, a framework of law which is based on the recorded judicial precedents and appears impressive impact on European, American and numerous of the legislations initiated by the British which are still operative.

Subsequently, the roots of the most of legislations in regard of people with mental disorders can be discovered from the British period. There's a tremendous relationship between the concept of the mental ailment, the treatment of the individual who is mentally ill and the law.

A report states that, the court is the another house, with the different motives, goals and the rules of conduct for psychiatrists. Whereas the psychiatrist is concerned with the treatment of mental disorders and the well-being of the patient, the court is basically concerned with the assurance of competency, adverseness, decreased obligation and the welfare of the individuals shaping the society. Fundamentally mental illness is a condition which causes genuine disorder in a person's behavior or thinking.

It alludes to a wide range of the condition of mental health disorders that influence the temperament, thinking and behavior. Mental disorder is the foremost traumatic illness a individual can ever have.

There are five signs of mental sickness. They are:
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability.
  • Extremely high and low moods.
  • Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.

A few illustrations of mental sickness incorporate depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality disorder, psychotic disorder and addiction behavior. When an individual endures from mental illness one may try to attempt suicide or he/she suffers from mere depression. Depression is an exceptionally common mental disorder which is distinctive from regular mood swings. Universally, more than 264 million individuals of generally all the age groups suffer from depression.

Depression is of numerous sorts, but one must consult a psychiatrist, a friend, or any family member with which victim feels secure to have a discussion without being judged, when the victim is depressed and later feels to commit suicide. Victim is perplexed to pour out the emotions by a thought of being judged or simply feels what the individuals around me will think of me? As the society being so judgmental, that they say anything approximately anybody indeed without knowing them and attempt to fault somebody without knowing in case it's their blame or not.

Indian Laws For The Treatment Of People With Mental Disorders

The Constitution of our nation ensures a person's right to life and personal liberty (article 21), including the right to move freely anywhere and everywhere and the freedom of expression. It too includes: facilities for reading, writing and expressing oneself in completely different forms, freely moving about and mixing with other human beings.

According to the Representation of People Act, 1950 (section 16), an individual is disqualified for the enrollment in an electoral roll on the off chance that he is of unsound intellect and stand declared by the court of law. Subsequently, the individual so disqualified cannot hold any public office (under the Constitution) such as President, Vice-President, Member of Parliament and the State Legislatures. Relationship between psychiatry and law generally comes into play amid the time of treatment of PMI.

The treatment of such individuals always enclose curtailment of individual freedom of psychiatric patients. Moreover laws must decide the capability of PMI, particularly when it comes to discovering individual obligation for actions. PMI confront numerous dangers which are not associated to their treatment.

These dangers emerge from different places which incorporate family members, friends, organizations and other communities and different individuals in society, who some way or another take advantage of these people in any way. Most of the nations within the world have laws with respect to treatment of psychiatric patients, India is among them.

In spite of the fact that there are various descriptions of distinctive forms of mental disorders, the care of the mentally ill patients within the asylums in our nation is a British advancement. In 1858, when the British takeover the administration of India, a huge number of laws were lay down so that the care and treatment of mentally ill people can be controlled in British India.

The laws were as follows:
  • The Lunacy Act, 1858 (for Supreme Courts)
  • The Lunacy Act, 1858 (for District Courts)
  • The Indian Lunatic Asylum Act, 1858 (amendments were made in 1886 and 1889)
  • The Military Lunatic Acts, 1877

The acts specified above gave rules for the establishment of the mental asylums and method to confess patients with mental disorder. The British picture existing in the middle of the 19th century served as the scene of lunacy legislations within the same period in India. The diverse acts of the year 1858 reflected the legalistic outline for the administration of the mentally ill. Thus, the Indian Lunacy Act of 1912 was enacted. Lunatic asylums, which were named as mental hospitals in 1922 are presently controlled and directed by a central authority. The act of voluntary admission was introduced.

Still, the main focus was on to prevent the society from the danger of mentally ills and to make sure that no sane person is admitted in these mental asylums. The psychiatrists were appointed for full time in these asylums. Provisions of judicial probation for mentally ill persons were also provided in the act. After the Second World War in the year 1948, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Indian Psychiatric Society submitted a draft in 1950, Mental Health Bill so that they can replace the outmoded ILA-1912. Mental Health Act (MHA-87) was finally constituted in 1987 after a long procedure.

Therefore, there is a need for a suitable mechanism to ensure that affected individuals get proper medical attention and care and some policies and provisions are implemented to protect the rights of such group. Like many other countries in the world, India has laws that regulate the treatment of psychiatric patients, or the mentally ill patients. But very few acts are for the direct benefits or rights of those with PMI as they have different deficiencies also.

The National Mental Health Program which exists since 1982 has been more proactive than reactive, despite being re-strategized in the year 1996. The better aspects of the mental health care reform are from the National Human Rights Commission, 2008 reports of the country. The reports mainly highlights the gross shortage that existed in the institutional care of PMI and also illuminates the positive changes in the individuals that can be brought about with tenacious monitoring, effective intervention and cooperation. This can result in higher participation from the society, improvement in the reservoir and living conditions of the people.

To cope with such issues, On April 7, 2017, the Mental Health Care Act was passed and in July 7, 2017, it came into enforcement. This act seeks to protect and promote the rights of persons with mental illness. This Act replaced the previously existing Mental Health Act of 1987. It remains to be seen if this act will provide protection and equitable care to psychiatric patients.

The most important challenge ahead is the need for a cooperative drive to improve human resources in the field of mental health. It must be emphasized that the goal of any law or other legal provision or act should be the welfare of the mentally ill people and the society.

Criminal Liability

Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 stated:

Nothing is an offence, which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.

McNaghten Rule defines the criminal responsibility of mentally ill person in our country courts and it has been mentioned in the sec 84. It has been held by the honorable Supreme Court that the law assumes every person of age of discretion to be in his senses and defense on the basis of insanity needs to be proven. If the insanity of a person is proved by defense, such persons are admitted to the Psychiatric Hospitals as per section 471 (i) of the criminal procedure act, 1973. There have been cases of less time period sentence on account of mental illness.

One such case of lesser time sentence on account of mental illness was where the feeling of life unbearable on account of domestic fight, a woman jumped into a well with her children, in this case it was held that the only sentence that could be passed was the lesser sentence of imprisonment for life (Baijanti Bai vs State of M.P.). Section 89 of the IPC provides that act done in good faith for benefit of child or insane person, by or by consent of guardian. Section 305 of the IPC provides for abetment of suicide of child or insane person.

We have witnessed the death of many celebrities which shook the entire nation and reason behind few of them was suicide by depression. Mental illness has become an issue where necessary steps are not taken by anyone and as a result of which the death ratio is increasing day by day. The current generation is afraid to express themselves and they are afraid to communicate with others.

The thought of being judged by the society and they thinks that: what people will think and say about me and so is the reason they are afraid to visit a therapist. These decisions can only make the situation more worst and take their life.

There are many helpline numbers and NGO'S opened by the government for the people who have such depressing thoughts and have major depression or the desire to take away their life since long. The helpline listen to them and helps them emotionally so that they are not carried away by their own thoughts.

The person can call 9820466726, 9152987821 for getting help with such thoughts. They always provide 24*7 services. Depression and life taking thoughts with increasing suicidal ratio it becomes very important that proper precautionary steps are taken to take care of such people emotionally and stop them from committing such mistakes.

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