DAA News Network

India: Confusion over mental health legislation

Posted 21/3-11 at 21.29

Disability rights groups are angry because it seems there are conflicting positions taken by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the rights of people with mental health problems.

The latter ministry is following the UN Convention, accepting the idea of full legal capacity. The bill being promoted by the Ministry of Health, on the other hand, allows people to be forcibly detained for up to 30 days.

Javed Abidi, Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, has asked, "So, which view will ultimately prevail? What is the government of India's position on legal capacity and the rights of people living with mental illness? The time has come to settle this extremely complex and yet critical matter."

He added that the issue had not been resolved because, "The non-governmental organisations in whom trust was placed were just too happy in each other's company, listening to each other and patting each other on the back. Neither did they listen to people with disabilities, nor did they engage with the bureaucracy."








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