MHCA-2017 is an Act to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of such persons during delivery of mental healthcare and services and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

WHEREAS the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol was adopted on the 13th December, 2006 at United Nations Headquarters in New York and came into force on the 3rd May, 2008;

AND WHEREAS India has signed and ratified the said Convention on the 1st day of October, 2007;

AND WHEREAS it is necessary to align and harmonize the existing laws with the said Convention. BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

Statement of Objects and Reasons —The United Nations Convention on the Rights Of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified by the Government of India in October, 2007, made it obligatory on the Government to align the policies and laws of the country with the 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, it is proposed to bring in a new legislation by repealing the Mental Health Act, 1987, and -

  • Recognising that
    1. Persons with mental illness constitute a vulnerable section of society and are subject to discrimination in our society;
    2. Families bear financial hardship, emotional and social burden of providing treatment and care for their relatives with mental illness;
    3. 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;
    4. 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.
  • And in order to:
    1. Protect and promote the rights of persons with mental illness during the delivery of health care In Institutions and in the community;
    2. 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 intrude on their rights and dignity. Community-based solutions, in the vicinity of the person's usual place of residence, are preferred to Institutional solutions;
    3. 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;
    4. Fulfil the obligations under the Constitution and the obligations under various International Conventions ratified by India;
    5. Regulate the public and private mental health sectors within a rights framework to achieve the greatest public health good;
    6. Improve accessibility to mental health care by mandating sufficient provision of quality public mental health services and non-discrimination in health insurance;
    7. Establish a mental health system integrated into all levels of general health care; and
    8. Promote principles of equity, efficiency and active participation of all stakeholders in decision making.

The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects.