The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017: The Contemplations to be Addressed
Pursued LL.M. from National Law University, Orissa, India.
Volume II – Issue I, 2020
The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 replaced the Mental Health Act, 1987. The new Act aims to align and bring harmony between the existing legislation with that of Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability and its optional protocol ratified in 2007 by India. The law has been praised as being revolutionary as well as an obstacle to adequate patient treatment. The new Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 represents a major leap forward in principles and has the rights and privileges of mentally ill people maintaining humanistic fervour. The new Act has several positive features like making advanced directive, aims to balance mental disorders with that of physical disorders and regulates the mental health establishments providing mental healthcare facilities. It also helps to define the role of police in ensuring protection of patients. Insurance providers were instructed not to discriminate against people having mental disease and one of the substantial steps taken is the decriminalization of suicide. This Act also has significant limitations. Indeed, some of these limitations directly contradict the values and principles stated in the Act. The restrictions can prevent from realizing the revolutionary principles of this new Act. There are glaring shortfalls and omissions in the name of adapting global principles to the Indian context. There are also various compromises made. It is unwilling to establish strong systems which provide the resources to implement the human rights agenda that is supposed to be enshrined in the new Act. This research paper not only focuses on the positive and the negative aspects related to the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 but at the same time is focusing on the suggestive aspects which can be addressed in the mental health sector for effective implementation. Keywords: Mental Health, Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability