BSS-21 Cabinet okays draft National Mental Health Act





Cabinet okays draft National Mental Health Act

DHAKA, Jan 3, 2018 (BSS) – The Cabinet has approved the draft of the National Mental Health Act-2017, suggesting rigorous punishment for provoking any mental patient to commit crime.

The draft also proposed stringent punishment for setting up and operating mental hospital without license.

The approval was given in the weekly meeting of the cabinet held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) here today with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Md. Shafiul Alam said the new law will replace the 105-year old “The Lunacy Act 1912”.

According to the draft law, Shafiul Alam said, the law clearly defined who would be considered as mental patient.

“A person suffering from mental disabilities, or is not able to realise own potentiality, or a drug addicted person not able to run his or her normal livelihood, would be defined as mental patient,” the draft said.

The government would constitute a directorate for carrying out mental health related activities coherently in the country, the draft said.

Besides, a three-member review and monitoring committee will be formed in every district under Deputy Commissioner where Civil Surgeon and Deputy Director of the Social Services of the district will act as members.

Shafiul Alam said, guardian of the patients can apply before the committee to get support for the treatment of mental patients. The review committee would take step within a month of receiving such application.

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 cabinet secretary said.

Shafiul Alam said running of a mental hospital without any license would be a punishable offence for which an operator may face Taka five lakh penalty or a three-year imprisonment or both.

Anybody provoking a mental patient to commit any offence would face a Taka five lakh fine or two years of jail or both.

Today’s meeting also approved the draft of an Agreement on Trade, Promotion and Economic Cooperation to be signed between Bangladesh and the Czech Republic.

A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Tourism signed between Bangladesh and Cambodia was also given approval in the meeting.

During the meeting, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan handed over a certificate of the UK based International Rating Organisation Llyod to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in which Chittagong Port was ranked 71st among 100 sea ports. In 2009 the rank was 98th.

The cabinet adopted three separate obituary references expressing shock and grief at the death of Fisheries and Livestock Minister and veteran freedom fighter Sayedul Haque, former Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation and President of Chittagong District Awami League ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury and Golam Mostafa Ahmed, a parliament member from Gaibandha-1 constituency.