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Section 21 Mental Healthcare Act 2017: Right to equality & non-discrimination

Section 21 (Right to equality and non-discrimination) under Chapter V (Rights of Persons with Mental Illness) of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 —

❝(1) Every person with mental illness shall be treated as equal to persons with physical illness in the provision of all healthcare which shall include the following, namely:—

 (a) there shall be no discrimination on any basis including gender, s e x, s e xual orientation, religion, culture, caste, social or political beliefs, class or disability;

 (b) emergency facilities and emergency services for mental illness shall be of the same quality and availability as those provided to persons with physical illness;

 (c) persons with mental illness shall be entitled to the use of ambulance services in the same manner, extent and quality as provided to persons with physical illness;

 (d) living conditions in health establishments shall be of the same manner, extent and quality as provided to persons with physical illness; and

 (e) any other health services provided to persons with physical illness shall be provided in same manner, extent and quality to persons with mental illness.

(2) A child under the age of three years of a woman receiving care, treatment or rehabilitation at a mental health establishment shall ordinarily not be separated from her during her stay in such establishment:

 Provided that where the treating Psychiatrist, based on his examination of the woman, and if appropriate, on information provided by others, is of the opinion that there is risk of harm to the child from the woman due to her mental illness or it is in the interest and safety of the child, the child shall be temporarily separated from the woman during her stay at the mental health establishment:

 Provided further that the woman shall continue to have access to the child under such supervision of the staff of the establishment or her family, as may be appropriate, during the period of separation.

(3) The decision to separate the woman from her child shall be reviewed every fifteen days during the woman's stay in the mental health establishment and separation shall be terminated as soon as conditions which required the separation no longer exist:

 Provided that any separation permitted as per the assessment of a mental health professional, if it exceeds thirty days at a stretch, shall be required to be approved by the respective Authority.

(4) Every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness.❞

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