Delhi High Court critical of police presence at mental health rehabilitation centres

The Delhi High Court has said that keeping policemen in halfway homes goes against the aim of rehabilitating people who suffer from mental disorders.

Halfway homes are a stop-gap place for people who have undergone treatment for mental illness before they re-enter the real world.

The court said that a non-threatening and happy atmosphere was essential for people who are recovering after psychiatric treatment.

The court said this while noticing the heavy presence of armed and unarmed guards at a halfway home under the Tihar Jail authorities. It gave an order that the police be withdrawn from there.

The issue was brought to the court's attention by the the Institute of Human Behaviour and Applied Sciences (IHBAS), which approached the court seeking an order directing jail authorities to withdraw the guards at the halfway home for a man, who has been found not guilty of murdering his wife and was at the centre for rehabilitation.

The man was undergoing treatment of bipolar disorder and was sent to the halfway home by the court for rehabilitation.

After the court order, unarmed guards have replaced armed ones. The bench said that it was important for the man to undergo rehabilitation and further treatment in a non-intrusive and congenial atmosphere.

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