- Mental health activist Bansal filed a petition seeking notification on minimum standards regulating mental health institutions.
- Delhi HC ruled that the PIL be treated as a representation.
- The bench has directed the Centre to notify the draft minimum standards as soon as they are finalized.
THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: On October 12, the Delhi High Court asked the Centre to treat a PIL seeking notification of minimum standards for different categories of mental health establishments as representation. The order came after the Centre affirmed the completion of the draft ‘minimum standards’ and guaranteed publication soon.
The division bench presided by Chief Justice Patel and Justice Jalan ruled that the representation be determined according to the laws regulating registered mental health institutions.
The court ordered expeditious action on the matter raised by the PIL filed by a lawyer and mental health activist, Gaurav Bansal. Bansal brought to light the maximum time period of 18 months permitted by the Mental Healthcare Act for drafting the minimum standards. He contended that the delay in notification of the regulation standards indicates the lackadaisical approach of the Centre and the Delhi government. The petition claimed,
“However, these establishments never register themselves with the Central Mental Health Authority or State Mental Health Authority as required under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. Since, to date, respondent 2 (Delhi government) has neither issued any notification prescribing minimum standards for such establishments nor has clarified whether such establishments shall be treated as mental health establishments, persons with mental illness are finding it difficult to approach such entities”.
Further, the mental health activist pointed up every mentally ill individual’s right to make an ‘advance directive’ under the Act. An ‘advance directive’ allows the patient to specify how they have any mental illness and whether they wish to be treated or not. Unfortunately, he said, the due process for making the ‘advance directive’ has not been notified till yet. According to Bansal, the primary purpose behind filing the PIL is to seek a set of regulations that keep a check on institutions promising to “cure” mentally ill people through Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy.