Every person with mental illness who is admitted has the right to communication1. This means the right to:
- Refuse or receive visitors
- Refuse or receive and make phone calls subject to the rules of the mental health establishment
- Send and receive emails2
Additionally, the right to communication also means that the person does not have to communicate with certain people if he or she so wishes. The person may inform the mental health professional in-charge, whose duty it is to restrict such communication. However, this right does not apply in certain cases. they cannot restrict communication if it is from3:
- Any Judge or officer authorised by a court
- Members of the authorities i.e. Mental Health Review Board, the Central Authority or the State Authority
- Any member of Parliament or a Member of State Legislature
- Nominated representative or legal representative of the person
- Medical professional in charge of the person’s treatment
- Any other person authorised by the Government.
The law punishes mental health establishment or any other person who violate these rights. The punishment is jail time of up to 6 months and/or a fine up to Rs. 10,000 for the first offence. For any subsequent offence, the jail time is up to 2 years and/or with a fine between Rs. 50,000 to 2 lakhs4. You should complain against such a person, or approach the Court with the help of a lawyer.0
- Section 26(1), the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
- Section 26(2), the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
- Section 26(3), the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
- Section 108, the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.