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Key Takeaways

  • The "wills and preferences" of a mentally ill person have to be considered by the Court in deciding how care is to be given.
  • Credence has to be given to the views of the person with mental illness to the extent that the person understands the nature of the decisions.

Background

  • The Bench was dealing with a petition filed by a 76-year-old lady and wife of a mentally ill individual (Mr DMP) diagnosed with Fronto-temporal Dementia in 2019.
  • The man had been living in his official residence along with a lady claiming to be his wife and his daughter-in-law from his deceased son.
  • The Court, therefore, dealt with the questions as to who the guardian for Mr DMP would be, who should take decisions relating to his medical treatment and who should be given control of his movable and immovable assets and other financial affairs.

Observation

  • The Delhi High Court has held that the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016 Act or the Rules framed thereunder do not create any embargo on the exercise of parents patriae jurisdiction by it under Article 226 of the Constitution.
  • The Court deliberated on the issue of the medical condition of Mr. DMP. It also touched upon the legal aspects concerning the legislative framework for the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 and the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016 and also the analysis on Guardianship.
  • The Court also added that the statutes were recent and various institutions contemplated under them were yet to be completely established.
  • On the aspect of guardianship, the Court opined that credence has to be given to the views of the person with mental illness to the extent that the person understands the nature of the decisions. It was therefore observed that the treatment and healthcare to be given to the mentally ill person has to be in the particular context of that person's life history.
  • The Court also held that the intention of the RPWD Act 2016, is to first examine if the PwD is capable of expressing his or her will or preferences, and second, under exceptional circumstances, where consultation is not possible, enable the provision of total support.
  • The role of the wife is of prime importance and that merely because she is illiterate does not mean that she cannot take care of her husband.

Questions

  • What is your opinion on this judgement?
  • What does RPWD Act stand for?

Share your views in the comments section below.

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