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Every Person With Mental Illness Shall Have A Right To Live With Dignity: SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 May 2019 11:46 AM GMT
Every Person With Mental Illness Shall Have A Right To Live With Dignity: SC [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered last month, noted that under the Mental Health Care Act, 2017, there is a statutory right for mentally ill persons to live with dignity

The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Indira Banerjee observed that Section 20 (1) of the Mental Health Care Act explicitly provides that 'every person with mental illness shall have a right to live with dignity'.

The court in, Accused X vs State of Maharashtra, held that post conviction mental illness will be a mitigating factor while considering appeals of death convicts. It also commuted death penalty of the accused who was convicted of rape and murder of two minor girls. Te court said:

"All human beings possess the capacities inherent in their nature even though, because of infancy, disability, or senility, they may not yet, not now, or no longer have the ability to exercise them. When such disability occurs, a person may not be in a position to understand the implications of his actions and the consequence it entails. In this situation, the execution of such a person would lower the majesty of law."

In this case, the bench also directed the Registry to not disclose the actual name of the accused. It had said:

"In line with Section 23 (1) of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, (Act 10 of 2017) and the right to privacy of the accused herein, while taking further action on this judgment, we direct the Registry to not disclose the actual name of the accused and other pertinent information which could lead to his identification as it concerns confidential information. In this context we shall address the accused herein as 'accused x'. "

The court also held that post-conviction severe mental illness will be a mitigating factor that the appellate Court, in appropriate cases, needs to consider while sentencing an accused to death penalty.

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