Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy Members:

  1. Coordinators:
    • Dr. Jaya Sagade
    • Dr. Soumitra Pathare
  2. Hon Research Fellow –
    • Dr. Kaustubh Joag
  3. Research Associates:
    • Ms. Jasmine Kalha,
    • Ms. Joanna
  4. PhD students:
    • Ms. Renuka Rode
    • Mr. Mukul Inamdar

International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights:

After the first four successful batches of the International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights, the Indian Law Society in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, conducted a residential session for the fifth batch of the Diploma from 27th October to 10th November 2012. Dr. Soumitra Pathare and Dr. Jaya Sagade worked as the coordinators for this diploma. Thirteen participants from different professions such as doctors, lawyers and health professionals from eleven different countries enrolled for the diploma course. These countries were –Australia, Canada, Egypt, Fiji, Libya, Nepal, Romania, Slovakia, Somalia, UK and India.

The course was taught by a faculty of renowned international experts who have been actively involved in WHO’s work to improve the human rights situation for people with mental disabilities. The faculty included –

  • Dr. Itzhak Levav – Consultant to WHO and adviser to the Israel Ministry of Health, Israel.
  • Mr. Oliver Lewis – Executive Director, Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC), Budapest, Hungary.
  • Dr. Soumitra Pathare – Consultant Psychiatrist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.
  • Dr. Jaya Sagade – Coordinator of the Center, Pune.
  • Ms. Caroline Kim
  • Ms. Christine Ogaranko
  • Ms. Dovile

The topics covered in this residential session were – Basic Legal Concepts, Legal Traditions and Systems, International Law, Human Rights and Fundamental Rights, Interaction between Human Rights and Mental Health, International and Regional Human Rights Systems, Key Rights within the International Human Rights System, Role of MHL in promoting HR, Improving Access to Mental Health Care and Services, Key Rights of Users, Families and Care givers, Competency and Capacity with special reference to CRPD, Involuntary Treatment, Mental Illness as Defense, Sentencing and Treatment, Regulatory Mechanisms and Drafting and Adopting MHL.

The participants of the fourth batch came to Pune for the examination session. The examination session was held from 6th November to 9th November 2012. The successful participants were awarded the diplomas at the hands of Justice N. Kumar (Hon’ble Judge, High Court of Karnataka) in the Convocation function held on 10th November 2012.

Workshops for Training the Judicial Officers on Mental Health and Law:

Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy (CMHLP) of the Indian Law Society (ILS), Pune is endeavoring to meet the increasing need for technical assistance and training in the field of mental health policy and legislation in light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which is being brought into force in many countries, as well as the increasing numbers of countries undertaking reform of their mental health services and mental health laws.

One facet of this larger goal is to inform and sensitize judicial officers on issues of mental illness so that they would be better equipped to make decisions when persons with mental illness are brought to their courts – keeping in mind the nature of the disorders and the complexities of the other socio-cultural issues involved.

CMHLP along with The Banyan Academy for Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), Chennai and The Rangoonwala Foundation (India) Trust, Mumbai conducted the first such training programme at the Maharashtra Judicial Academy on 27-29 July 2012.

On the first day, Dr Kishore of BALM, Chennai and NIMHANS, Bangalore gave an overview of Basic Mental Health Concepts, Poverty and Homelessness and its Impact on Mental Health and Mental Illness. On the second day, Principal V. Joshi of the ILS Law College, Pune covered the Admission and Discharge Procedures from the Mental Health Act and Dr Jaya Sagade, coordinator of the CMHLP covered Guardianship Procedures from the Mental Health Act. On the third day, Dr. Soumitra Pathare, a practicing Psychiatrist and also a coordinator at CMHLP, covered concepts of ‘Sound’ and ‘Unsound’ Mind, Issues pertaining to Legal Capacity and the CRPD while Dr. Jaya Sagade covered issues related to mental illness in Marriage and Divorce laws. 30 judicial officers attended the training, amongst which 15 were Chief Judicial Magistrates (CJM) and 15 were Metropolitan Magistrates from Mumbai.

A similar training program was conducted at the Karnataka Judicial Academy, Bangalore on 20th and 21st October 2012. This program too, was attended by 30 Chief Judicial Magistrates, Family Court judges and the District judges.

The participation from the trainees was overwhelming in both these training sessions. They appreciated the content of the programme and the delivery of the training. The reading materials were also appreciated by them. It resolved some grey areas and ambiguities as well as provided them with a better understanding of the Mental Health Act. They also stated that they were better equipped to pass judgments pertaining to persons with mental illness. The programme was extremely well received.

The centre is grateful to Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Prabha Sridevan, Chairman of the IPAB, and former judge of Madras High Court for helping the centre to structure and organize these programs right from the beginning.  Without her support it would have become difficult to organize these two programs.

INCLUDE: An International Collaboration:

An international collaboration between the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the Indian Law Society (ILS, Pune), the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS, Mumbai), and The Banyan and The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM, Chennai) was launched on 9th December 2012 at ILS. The INCLUDE programme (India Netherlands Collaboration on mentaL health innovations in Under-serveD SEttings), an international collaboration between India and the Netherlands, will contribute to the development of the research and training capacity in the field of mental health.

The INCLUDE collaboration aims to test and apply solutions demonstrating potential for sustainable impact in addressing challenges in mental health with a specific focus on the most marginalized people in society. The developed mental health innovations and approaches are clinical, social, legal, or economic approaches intended to contribute to integrated solutions in mental health. The network is comprised of PhD programs, at ILS and TISS, and social action research laboratories -the Law & Policy Action Lab (LP-LAB) at the ILS in Pune and the Mental Health Social Action Lab (MH-SAL) at The Banyan/BALM (a non-profit organization) in Chennai in collaboration with the Athena Institute, VU University, Amsterdam.

The launch was attended by dignitaries such as Mr. Keshav Desiraju (Special Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India); Mr. Raosaheb Shinde (President, Indian Law Society); Dr. Rene Smit (President, VU University Amsterdam), Dr. Joske Bunders (Director, Athena Institute, VU), faculty from VU, ILS, TISS and The Banyan; founders of India-based NGO’s and health professionals.

This collaboration came at a pertinent time in light of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by India.

Research Projects:

  • Analytical study of the divorce cases from the Family Court of Pune over the last fifteen years which involved mental disorder as a ground – the project was initiated under the guidance of Dr Jaya Sagade and Dr Soumitra Pathare, the Coordinators at CMHLP.
  • Commonwealth Mental Health Project – We are currently analyzing the mental health legislations of commonwealth countries for Commonwealth Health Professions Alliance (CPHA), under the mentorship of Dr Soumitra Pathare. Students from ILS Law College working on this project are: Aamir Varawala, Aparna Iyer Arnavi Panda, Devahuti Pathak, Dhruvi Shah, Janani Vivek, Janhavi Phansalkar, Kaustubh Mone, Madhumita Shivade, Nikhila Tejaswi, Parvathy Tharamal, Priyanka Mitra, Rudraneel Chattopadhyay, Samyuktha Balaji, Sayli Tomey, Suvarna Damle. We appreciate their work.
  • Along with The Banyan, Chennai, we are conducting a community feasibility study of Psychiatric Advance Directives in under-served settings. Interns from VU University, Amsterdam are also working in this study under the supervision of Dr. Soumitra Pathare. Ms Renuka Rode joined the LP Lab on 11th February, 2013 as Research Associate and is currently working on these projects.

Our team of researchers is motivated by a common desire to expand robust research, scientific cooperation in the field of mental health law and policy, human rights and will help address the complexities and problems in mental health capacity-building in India from a rights-based perspective.

Farewell and Welcome: 

The two Research Associates – Ms. Ipsita Chakrabarti and Ms. Sayali Patwardhan worked at the Center in Jan 2013. We appreciate their services and wish them good luck.

Ms. Renuka Rode joined the Center in Feb 2013. We welcome her.

Personal Reports:

Dr. Soumitra Pathare:

  • Activities at ILS:
  1. Conducted the 5th year of the International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights residential session in Oct-November 2012.
  2. Member of Mental Health Policy Group appointed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to draft a National Mental Health Policy and Plan.
  3. Provided Technical Support to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in drafting the new Mental Health Care Bill.
  • International Conference Participated:
  1. Presentation made at the 11th World Congress of World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Milan Italy, 10th November 2013 to 13th November 2012.
  2. Human rights: challenges raised by the implementation of the UN Convention.
  • National / State Level Conferences / Workshops / Seminars Participated:
  1. Presentation made at the Annual Conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society, Bangalore 10th to 13th January 2013 “Draft Mental Health Care Bill”.
  2. Lecture delivered at the Deccan Psychiatric Association CME 2012 on9th December 2012 at Sangli on “Mental Health care bill and Practice in Psychiatry”.
  • Publications:
  1. National
  2. Pathare, S, Kala, K & Sarin, A. (2012) Human Rights and Law. In Community Mental Health in India. (Eds Chavan, BS, Gupta, N, Arun, P, Sidana, A & Jadhav, S.) Jaypee Medical Publishers, New Delhi India. pp 184-192.

  3. International
  4. Pathare S, Shields LS. Supported decision-making for persons with mental illness: a review. Public Health Reviews. 2012;34: epub ahead of print.

Dr. Jaya Sagade:

Research Project:

Mental Disorder as a ground of Matrimonial Remedy under the Hindu Marriage Act

Workshops and Seminars Organized:

  1. Organized a workshop for training the judges on Mental Health Law on 27th, 28th and 29th July 2012 at Maharashtra Judicial Academy, Mumbai.
  2. Organized a workshop for training the judges on Mental Health Law on 13th and 14th October 2012 at Karnataka Judicial Academy, Bangalore.

Lectures Delivered:

  1. Conducted a session on Marriage Laws and Mental disorder for the judges at the workshop on Mental Health law at Maharashtra Judicial Academy, at Mumbai on 27th and 28th July 2012.
  2. Conducted a session on Marriage Laws and Mental disorder for the judges at the workshop on Mental Health law at Karnataka Judicial Academy at Bangalore on 13th and 14th October 2012.

Ms. Renuka Rode:

Research Projects:

  1. Feasibility Study of Psychiatric Advance Directives in under-served rural as well as urban settings of Chennai, India.
  2. Analytical study of divorce cases on the ground of mental illness from the Family Court, Pune.
  3. Analysis of Mental Health Legislation of the Commonwealth countries.