Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘schizophrenia’

The local court adjucating on the Faisal Khan custody case passed its final judgement yesterday. The court held that Faisal need not be in anybody’s custody and can live anywhere he wants.

I have been following the Faisal case since the news broke- click here and here for my previous posts. This ruling is a cause of joy to me and all others who love individual freedom and believe that the state and the law have no business assuming a paternalistic role over our lives.

Related: Britney in Guantanamo.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Aamir Khan’s brother wants freedom.

Freedom. It’s so hard to come by, isn’t it?

Also read my earlier post: The dad, the brother and schizophrenia

Read Full Post »

Continuing on the topic of involuntary commitment, here is a good news story.

The decision ends by stating that the involuntarily hospitalization of a person is such a “massive curtailment of liberty,” it requires the state to meet a high burden of proof to hospitalize the person. The court found that the state did not meet that burden.

It seldom does. In this particular instance, the state actually appealed a lower court decision, so badly did it want to take away the liberty of a man who has not even committed a crime!

Read Full Post »

The Bandra magistrate’s court has awarded the custody of Faisal Khan to his father Tahir Hussain.

For those unfamiliar with the case, Faisal had approached the court a month ago accusing his brother Aamir Khan of forcible confinement. He had been made a prisoner, he said, and he would rather be alone or with his father than return to Aamir. Aamir had responded that Faisal suffers from schizophrenia-affected psychosis, a claim which was supported by the doctor’s reports, and had argued that he continue to have Faisal’s custody in the interest of the latter’s well-being. Today’s judgement by the court dismisses Aamir’s petition but directs that the father will now have custody.

I have mixed feelings about the judgement. On the one hand, I am glad that the court did not direct Faisal to be returned against his will to Aamir. However, from the news reports it appears that Faisal wanted to be a free man, and being put under the care of his father was his second-best option, perhaps something he put forth to escape being sent back to his former state. If that is the case, why should his freedom be denied?

My position is that involuntary custody in such an instance can be justified for only one reason- to prevent the person from harming others. The medical report says that Faisal’s illness “may affect mood” and make him prone to acting “irrationally”. Nowhere does it suggest that Faisal is dangerous or violent. He is just more likely than you or me to have unconventional thoughts and behaviour. Is it right for society to make a value judgement on his case and lock him up? A century ago, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder and “patients” were forcibly treated at psychiatric hospitals. Indeed, mental disorders, to paraphrase Thomas Szasz, are best viewed as a kind of social construction, created by society’s concept of what constitutes normality and abnormality. (To clarify, my argument is not that mental conditions are non-existent but rather that the set of conditions that are deemed ‘disorders’ are a function of social convention). As long as the person is not harming others, do we have a right to restrict his fundamental freedoms because his opinions, values or actions do not conform to our notions of correctness?

Newer posts on this topic:

(Dec 18, 2007) Who’s afraid of Faisal Khan?;    

(Feb 17, 2008) Faisal gets his freedom finally.

Read Full Post »