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  • Patients suffering from mental illness cannot be lodged in police lock-up or jail.
  • The state government of Chhattisgarh has asked the police to admit a homeless person suffering from mental illness into a hospital or a government-run shelter home.
  • Action will be taken against those who violate the government’s order.

With an aim to protect the rights of patients suffering from mental illness, under the Mental Healthcare Act 2017, the Chhattisgarh government has issued a letter to all police stations and Police Superintendents across the state.

According to the circular issued by Chhattisgarh police:

  • If a person suffering from mental illness is found to be roaming on the streets, the police should ensure their protection.
  • Patients with mental illness should not be lodged in police lock-up or jail.
  • Missing persons First Information Report (FIR) should be filed by police.
  • The family should be immediately informed.
  • Patients should be sent to a hospital for further treatment.
  • In case if there is no need to keep them in hospital, then the police should hand them over to the family.
  • If the patient is homeless then, he/she should be admitted to a government-run shelter home.
  • Strict action will be taken against those who will violate the order.

The government of Chhattisgarh has issued the order under section 100 of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017.

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Psychiatrists, psychologists and health experts working for the betterment of persons with mental illness have welcomed the decision of the Chhattisgarh government.

Arjun Kapoor, a lawyer and psychologist on Twitter, stated, “Kudos to the Chhattisgarh Police for doing this. Hope other state police departments follow suit and issue directions to all police stations and develop protocols to prevent the violations of rights of homeless persons.”

While Dr Soumitra Pathare, a psychiatrist and Director, Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy ILS, on Twitter opined, “Chattisgarh Police has written to all police stations with reference to Sec 100 Mental Healthcare Act 2017. Homeless persons with a mental illness to be taken to the nearest hospital, they will not be kept in police lockup and, missing person FIR to be registered by the police.”

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