Cabinet approves Mental Health Act draft, which will replace the 105-year-old Lunacy Act
The government has cleared the draft of a new act proposing harsher punishment to any medical practitioner if they are found guilty of intentionally giving a patient a false crtificate of mental health.
The guilty will be fined Tk3 lakh, or receive three years’ imprisonment or both for such crime under the new law, which will replace the 105-year-old one – “Lunacy Act 1912.”
The punishments were proposed in the draft of “Mental Health Act 2018” that was approved at the regular Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on Monday.
It aims at taking necessary steps for overall welfare of the mental patients around the country, protecting their rights to property, ensuring caring services and rehabilitation.
The draft law also proposes punishment for negligence or mismanagement by any mental health professionals or guardian during the treatment of patients, Cabinet Division Secretary (Coordination and Reform) NM Ziaul Alam told reporters after the meeting.
He said the punishment include three years’ imprisonment or Tk5 lakh fine or both.
“People concerned will also face similar punishments if negligence is found in distribution of wealth of the mental patients among their inheritors,” Alam added.
The law also proposes rigorous punishment for provoking any mental patient to commit crime and operating mental hospital without license.
Any individual found to be violating any other section of the law might also be fined Tk1 lakh, or sentenced to six months in prison or both.
In the draft law, the government has been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting, coordinating, regulating and improving all the activities related to mental health, the secretary said.
He said a mental health review monitoring committee was also proposed to provide long-term treatment to those affected by mental illness and ensure remedy to any aggravation in this regard.