Not okay to segregate mentally ill convicts from other patients, says Delhi government

The Delhi government has informed the Delhi High Court that segregating mentally ill undertrials and convicts from other mental illness patients in half-way and long-way homes cannot be accepted as it would lead to further stigma and isolation among them, defeating the purpose of these facilities.

Half-way homes are rehabilitation facilities, where people who have been treated for mental illnesses can stay for one to two years after their treatment to help them reintegrate into society. Long-way homes, on the other hand, are meant for patients who do not have families to go back to.

The information was given to a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani at a PIL hearing regarding the construction of halfway and long way homes in the national capital in accordance with an earlier order of the high court.

Counsel for the appellant advocate Anu Narula had suggested the segregation after reportedly conducting inspections at the Nav Kiran-I and Nav Kiran-II half-way homes on September 10 last year.

In her report, she had stated that there was no segregation between the patients who have a history of a criminal offence (prisoners/under trials) with non-prisoners who suffered mental illnesses.

In an affidavit submitted to the court, the Social Welfare department of the Delhi government did not accept the suggestion and also refuted the observations made by Narula on alleged filthy conditions, inadequate water supply and no fire safety at the two homes.

“The suggestion given by Narula that undertrials/convicts should be kept separately cannot be accepted as segregation leads to further stigma and isolation, damaging the already fragile mental state leading to the further progression of mental illness and defeating the very purpose of a halfway/long stay Home, which is meant for normalizing the resident’s experience and mainstreaming them in the community,” the affidavit read.

First Published:
Mar 24, 2019 03:38 IST

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