Disha Chaudhary and Kruthika R, associates working with CLPR discuss the various aspects surrounding the Mental HealthCare Act, 2017 (“Act”).
Kruthika briefly identifies the following positive features of Act:
The Act guarantees ‘right to access to mental health care’.
1. Provisions relating to ‘Advance Directives’ which recognises patient autonomy by allowing
2. them to make choices of future treatments in case they become incapacitated due to illness.
3. Decriminalization of suicide and recognizing it as a mental illness that needs to be treated.
Disha points out the following shortcomings of the Act:
1. The lack of qualified professionals to deal with the mental health care system.
2. The medical board set up under this Act has enormous powers and can substitute the will of the patient if it deems fit thereby infringing individual autonomy.
3. The Act has adopted rights-based placing overarching emphasis on the medical practitioners rather than giving formulating law through patients’ perspective.