Brief history of The Mental Health Care Act 2017
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified by the Government of the India in October, 2007, made it obligatory on the Government to align the policies and laws of the country with Convention. The need for amendments to the Mental Health Act, 1987 was felt by the fact that the related law, i.e., the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 was also in the process of amendment. The Mental Health Act, 1987 could not protect the rights of persons with mental illness and promote their access to mental health care in the country.
In light of above, the then UPA Govt. proposed to bring a new legislation by repealing the Mental Health Act, 1987. Therefore, the Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 19.08.2013, which was referred to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee with some amendments/modifications gave its report, but could not be passed in Parliament. Therefore, the present NDA Government re-introduced this Bill in Lok Sabha on 08.08.2016. It was finally, with certain amendments, Lok Sabha passed it on 26.03.2017 while Rajya Sabha passed it on 30.03.2017. The Honb’le President of India assented it on 07.04.2017. Now it has become the law of land and is known as Mental Health Care Act, 2017 (10 of 2017).
The key features of the Act are:-
- Persons with mental illness constitute a vulnerable section of society and are subject to discrimination in our society;
- Families bear financial hardship, emotional and social burden of providing treatment and care for their relatives with mental illness;
- Persons with mental illness should be treated like other persons with health problems and the environment around them should be made conducive to facilitate recovery, rehabilitation and full participation in society;
- The Mental Health Act, 1987 was insufficient to protect the rights of persons with mental illness and promote their access to mental health care in the country;
- Protect and promote the rights of persons with mental illness during the delivery of health care in institutions and in the community;
- Ensure health care, treatment and rehabilitation of persons with mental illness, is provided in the least restrictive environment possible, and in a manner that does not introduce on their rights and dignity. Community-based solutions, in the vicinity of the person’s usual place of residence, are preferred to instructional solutions;
- Provide treatment, care and rehabilitation to improve the capacity of the person to develop his or her full potential and to facilitate his or her integration into community life;
- Fulfill the obligation under the Constitution and the obligation under various International Conventions ratified by India;
- Regulate the public and private mental health sectors within a rights framework to achieve the greatest public health good;
- Improve accessibility to mental health care by mandating sufficient provision of quality public mental health services and non-discrimination in health insurance;
- Establish a mental health system integrated into all levels of general health care; and
- Promote principles of equity, efficiency and active participation of all stakeholders in decision making.
It was with a view to achieve the above objects of the act, the Government of Tamil Nadu, had ordered to establish 13 Mental Health Review Boards across the State of Tamil Nadu, in G.O. Ms. No.248 Health dated 04.06.2019. Thereafter, in pursuent to the Government Order above, The Chairperson/Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare Secretariat, Chennai, had appointed 13 Chairpersons by due process, to head the respective Mental Health Review Boards with encompassing Districts mentioned the Government Order. The Chief Executive Officer, (FAC), State Mental Authority, Chennai had issued appointment orders to The Chairpersons of the respective districts. Accordingly, Thiru. J.V. Raj, formerly The Registrar, (Vigilance), High Court, Madras and Presiding Officer, Debts Recovery Tribunal, Ministry of Finance, Government of India was appointed as Chairperson, Mental Health Review Board, Coimbatore, with effect from 01.10.2020 (F.N).
JURISDICTION OF THE BOARD
The Mental Health Review Board, Coimbatore is exercising jurisdiction over theree Districts namely (1) Coimbatore, (2) Tirpur & (3) Nilgirs.
Composition of the Board
The Head quarters of the Board as of now is at Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, Coimbatore. The address Mental Health Review Board is follows:
Formerly Medical Board Room, Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, Coimbatore – 18, Telephone No.2301393.
The Mental Health Review Board, Coimbatore consists of
- A Retired District Judge.
- District Collector represented by the District Differently Abled Welfare Officer, Coimbatore.
- One District Psychiatrist
- One Medical Practitioner
- One Care giver
- Member from an NGO
The details of the Chairperson and Members are as follows.
|Thiru. J.V. Raj
District Judge / Chairperson, MHRB, Coimbatore.
Mobile: 94454 36345
District Psychiatrist, Udhagamandalam,
Mobile: 86103 61272
District Differently Abled
Mobile: 98424 85574
Mobile: 98424 58811
|Representatives of NGO
THE DECISIONS OF THE BOARD
- The decisions of the Board, as the case may be, shall by consensus, failing which by a majority of votes of members present and voting and in the event of equality of votes, the president or the chairperson, as the case may be, shall have a second or casting vote.
- The quorum of a meeting of the Board, as the case may be, shall be three members.
APPLICATIONS TO THE BOARD
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE BOARD
- Any person with mental illness or his nominated representative or a representative of a registered non-governmental organization, with the consent of such a person, being aggrieved by the decision of any of the mental health establishment or whose rights under this Act have been violated, may make an application to the Board seeking redressal or appropriate relief.
- There shall be no fee or charge levied for making such an application.
- Every application referred to in sub-section (1) shall contain the name of applicant, his contact details, the details of the violation of his rights, the mental health establishment or any other place where such violation took place and the redressal sought from the Board.
- In exceptional circumstances, the Board may accept an application made orally or over telephone from a person admitted to a mental health establishment.
All proceedings before the Board shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193, 219 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.
The Board shall meet at such times and places and shall observe such rules of procedure in regard to the transaction of business at its meetings as may be specified by regulations made by the Central Authority.
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE BOARD
- The Board, on receipt of an application from an independent admission, if he has any grievance against the mental health establishment shall, subject to the provisions of this section, take every endeavour to hear and dispose of the same within a period of ninety days.
- The Board shall dispose of an application –– (a) for appointment of nominated representative under clause (d) of sub-section (4) of section 14; (b) challenging admission of a minor under section 87; (c) challenging supported admission under sub-section (10) or sub-section (11) of section 89, within aperiod of seven days from the date of receipt of such applications.
- The Board shall dispose of an application challenging supported admission under section 90 within a period of twenty-one days from the date of receipt of the application.
- The Board shall dispose of an application, other than an application referred to in sub-section (3), within a period of ninety days from the date of filing of the application.
- The proceeding of the Board shall be held in camera.
- The Board shall not ordinarily grant an adjournment for the hearing.
- The parties to an application may appear in person or be represented by a counsel or a representative of their choice.
- In respect of any application concerning a person with mental illness, the Board shall hold the hearings and conduct the proceedings at the mental health establishment where such person is admitted.
- The Board may allow any persons other than those directly interested with the application, with the permission of the person with mental illness and the chairperson of the Board, to attend the hearing.
- The person with mental illness whose matter is being heard shall have the right to give oral evidence to the Board, if such person desires to do so.
- The Board shall have the power to require the attendance and testimony of such other witnesses as it deems appropriate.
- The parties to a matter shall have the right to inspect any document relied upon by any other party in its submissions to the Board and may obtain copies of the same.
- The Board shall, within five days of the completion of the hearing, communicate its decision to the parties in writing.
- Any member who is directly or indirectly involved in a particular case, shall not sit on the Board during the hearings with respect to that case.
POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF BOARD
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the powers and functions of the Board shall, include all or any of the following matters, namely:––
(a) to register, review, alter, modify or cancel an advance directive;
(b) to appoint a nominated representative;
(c) to receive and decide application from a person with mental illness or his nominated representative or any other interested person against the decision of medical officer or mental health professional in charge of mental health establishment or mental health establishment under section 87 or section 89 or section 90;
(d) to receive and decide applications in respect non-disclosure of information specified under sub-section (3) of section 25;
(e) to adjudicate complaints regarding deficiencies in care and services specified under section 28;
(f) to visit and inspect prison or jails and seek clarifications from the medical officer in-charge of health services in such prison or jail. Central Authority to appoint Expert Committee to prepare guidance document.
(2) Where it is brought to the notice of a Board or the Central Authority or State Authority, that a mental health establishment violates the rights of persons with mental illness, the Board or the Authority may conduct an inspection and inquiry and take action to protect their rights.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the Board, in consultation with the Authority, may take measures to protect the rights of persons with mental illness as it considers appropriate.
(4) If the mental health establishment does not comply with the orders or directions of the Board or willfully neglects such order or direction, the Authority or the Board, as the case may be, may impose penalty of five thousand rupees which may extend up to five lakhs rupees on such mental health establishment and the Authority on its own or on the recommendations of the Board may also cancel the registration of such mental health establishment after giving an opportunity of being heard.
The Mental Health Review Board in empowered to entertain application in respect of the matters connected with the above provisions 1 (a) to (f), 2 to 4 which are extracted above.
The aggrieved persons may approach this Board for redressing their grievances.
The Mental Health Review Board, Coimbatore is now functioning in the former Medical Board Room (Opposite to Conference Hall), Coimbatore Government Medical College Hospital, Coimbatore – 641 018.
The former Medical Board Room,
Coimbatore Medical College Hospital,
Coimbatore – 641 018.
0422 - 2301393