New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Centre to treat as a representation a PIL seeking notification of minimum standards for different categories of mental health establishments as mandated under the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan directed that the representation be decided in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the facts of the case.

The direction came after the central government said the draft minimum standards are ready and would be published/notified as soon as they are finalised.

The court said the decision be taken as expeditiously as possible and disposed of the petition by lawyer and mental health activist, Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who had contended that under the Act the minimum standards have to be notified within 18 months of commencement of the statute, but the same has not been done yet.

Bansal had said this indicates a "casual approach" on the part of the Centre and the Delhi government with regard to implementation of the Act.

The petition had said there are many establishments in the country which claim they can cure or treat mentally ill people through Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy.

"However, these establishments never register themselves with the Central Mental Health Authority or State Mental Health Authority as required under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

"Since till date respondent 2 (Delhi government) has neither issued any notification prescribing minimum standards for such establishments nor has clarified whether such establishments shall be treated as mental health establishments, persons with mental illness are finding it difficult to approach such entities," the petition had claimed.

He had also said that under the Act, every person has the right to make an 'advance directive' which specifies how he/she, suffering from any mental illness, wishes to be cared for and treated or not treated.

However, the regulations for specifying the manner of making the 'advance directive' have also not been notified, the petition had claimed.

It had also sought a direction to the Centre to issue regulations on the manner of making advance directives for treatment as provided under the Act.