Badaun (UP), Jan 5 (PTI) Following the displeasure shown by the Supreme Court over the chaining of mentally-ill persons in a faith-based mental asylum here, the district administration freed 22 persons on Saturday and handed them over to their family members.

Senior Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar said, “In pursuance of the recent Supreme Court observations, the district administration and police reached the faith-based mental asylum on Friday night and freed 22 mentally-ill patients who were kept in chains. They were then handed over to their family members.” Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Paras Nath Maurya said, “In accordance with local belief, a number of mentally-ill patients reach here. The patients (in the name of divine treatment) are kept in chains, so that they cannot run away.” On January 3, the Supreme Court said chaining of mentally-ill people could not be allowed and termed it as “atrocious” and “inhuman”.

A bench comprising justices AK Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer said chaining people with mental illness was violative of their rights under Article 21 of the Constitution, which dealt with life and personal liberty, adding that their dignity could not be compromised.

It made the observations while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who had alleged that persons with mental illness were kept chained in a faith-based mental asylum in Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh, in violation of the provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

The court perused the photographs of the patients who had been chained and said it was a matter of great concern.

“These are mentally challenged persons. You (petitioner) have placed the photographs and they all are chained. It is atrocious,” the bench observed, adding that “something has to be done immediately for these poor people”.

The court asked the petitioner to call a law officer of the Centre so that appropriate interim orders could be passed.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.