SC succour for mentally ill

Kathmandu, October 16:

The Supreme Court today scrapped some legal provisions, which allowed the government authorities to detain and keep mentally ill persons in jail.

A three-member special bench of Justices Bal Ram KC, Damodar Prasad Sharma and Kalyan Shrestha issued the verdict. The bench scrapped Section 6 of Treatment Chapter of Muluki Ain and a part of Section 16 (2) of Disabled Protection Act.

The bench issued mandamus order to the government authorities to adopt reliable solution to the mentally ill people for their treatment.

The bench directed the government authorities to admit all mentally ill persons who have been kept in jails to hospitals.

The SC also directed the authorities to conduct a study in order to find long-term solution to the problem in coordination with the PMO and representatives of the groups, organisations and hospitals concerned.

Challenging the provisions of the Acts, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the court two years ago saying that detaining mentally ill people was against the principle of welfare state.

The petitioner said detaining and handcuffing mentally ill persons, instead of providing care and treatment to them, was cruel and illegal. Advocate Raju Prasad Chapagain, representing the Pro Public, had filed the petition.