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Mental Health Act gets cabinet’s nod

Mental Health Act gets cabinet’s nod

The Cabinet has given final approval to the draft of the ‘Mental Health Act, 2018′ aimed at taking necessary steps for overall welfare of the mental patients in the country and ensuring their rights to property. The approval was given in the weekly meeting of the cabinet on Monday (July 16) held at Prime Minister’s Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, local media reports said.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Secretary of the Cabinet Division (Reform and Coordination) NM Zeaul Alam said the draft has been prepared to make a time befitting law considering the present perspective.

The law will replace the 105-year-old “The Lunacy Act, 1912”, he said adding that the law suggested providing caring services to the patients of mental health, protecting their rights including rights to wealth, rehabilitation and overall welfare.

The law also proposed rigorous punishment for provoking any mental patient to commit crime and stringent punishment for setting up and operating mental hospital without license.

According to the law, the government would carry out all activities for expansion, development, control and coordination of the services of the mental patients.

The government would provide long-term treatment of the mental patients and constitute a Mental Health Review Monitoring Committee to facilitate the aggrieved persons to get remedy.

The law also has provisions for setting up and operating hospitals and institutes under private sector for the treatment of the mental patients and providing quality services in this field.

The draft law provides for a fine of Taka 3 lakh or one year rigorous jail or both for a false certificate about the mental health of a person given by any mental health service provider.

A guardian or manager would be found guilty to pay penalty of Taka 5 lakh or suffer three years’ rigorous imprisonment for any negligence in treatment or management of the patient or in preparing the list of property of a mental patient or failure to obey any court order to protect the rights of a mental patient.