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THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT, 1987

(No. 14 of 1987)1

[22nd May, 1987]

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the treatment and care of mentally ill persons, to make better provision with respect to their properly and affairs and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS OF ACT 14 of 1987

  1. The attitude of the society towards persons afflicted with mental illness has changed considerably and it is now realised that no stigma should be attached to such illness as it is curable, particularly, when diagnosed at an early stage. Thus the mentally ill persons are to be treated like any other sick persons and the environment around them should be made as normal as possible.
  2. The experience of the working of Indian Lunacy Act, 1912 ( 4 of 1912) has revealed that it has become out-moded. With the rapid advance of medical science and the understanding of the nature of malady, it has become necessary to have fresh legislation with provisions for treatment of mentally ill persons in accordance with the new approach.
  3. It is considered necessary
    1. to regulate admission to psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric nursing homes of mentally ill-persons who do not have sufficient understanding to seek treatment on a voluntary basis, and to protect the rights of such persons while being detained;
    2. To protect society from the presence of mentally ill persons who have become or might become a danger or nuisance to others;
    3. To protect citizens from being detained in psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric nursing homes without sufficient cause;
    4. To regulate responsibility for maintenance charges of mentally ill persons who are admitted to psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric nursing homes;
    5. To provide facilities for establishing guardianship or custody of mentally ill persons who are incapable of managing their own affairs;
    6. To provide for the establishment of Central Authority and State Authorities for Mental Health Services;
    7. To regulate the powers of the Government for establishing, licensing and controlling psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric nursing homes for mentally ill persons;
    8. viii.To provide for legal aid to mentally ill persons at State expense in certain cases.
  4. The main object of the Bill is to implement the aforesaid proposals.

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