While hearing a writ petition raising issues about patients suffering from mental illness being kept in chains in an asylum, the Supreme Court has observed that even a person suffering from mental disability is still a human being and his dignity cannot be violated.
The bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice S Abdul Nazeer was hearing a writ petition in which petitioner Gaurav Kumar Bansal alleged that some of the patients suffering from mental illness, who are lodged in Faith-Based Mental Asylum situated near Mohalla Kabulpur, Badayun District, Uttar Pradesh, are kept under chains. Certain photographs were also placed on record along with the petition.
Observing that issues raised in the petition were of serious concern and need immediate attention, the bench requested Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta to appear on behalf of Union of India.
"This is not only inhuman and violative of rights of such persons under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, as even a person suffering from mental disability is still a human being and his dignity cannot be violated," the court said.
The court also added that keeping such patients under chains is also against the spirit of Section 95 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. The provision prohibits treatments like electro-convulsive therapy without the use of muscle relaxants and anesthesia, electro-convulsive therapy for minors, sterilisation of men or women, when such sterilisation is intended as a treatment for mental illness. It also stated that the patients cannot be chained in any manner or form whatsoever.
The matter has been now posted to Monday after the Solicitor General of India sought two days' time to look into the matter.