New Delhi: On the eve of World Mental Health Day, a section of disability rights groups have raised strong objection to certain provisions of the newly-drafted Mental Healthcare Bill, including on involuntary admissions, saying they are "anti-patient" and can be misused. These groups will tomorrow stage a protest outside the Health Ministry office in Nirman Bhawan, asking the Government to intervene and stop the legislation as it promotes `institutionalisation` of mental health care facilities and dilutes the rights of persons suffering from mental illness. While stating that as far as possible all admissions into mental health institutions should be independent voluntary admissions, the law allows for involuntary admissions "when such conditions exist as make supported admission unavoidable". Disability groups are against involuntary admissions which are literally forced admissions and can be misused against people with mental illness. The groups are also advocating community mental healthcare and an end to establishment of more institutions such as psychiatric facilities. That is also what is stated by UNCRPD (UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability), which India ratified in 2007. "While the world community is talking about de- institutionalising mental health sector, the Bill proposes that anyone can set up mental health institutes. The penalty provisions for such institutes set up without permission are not deterrent enough, as there is only a fine of Rs 50,000 proposed on the first offence," said Javed Abidi, Convenor, Disabled Rights Group (DRG).
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