The cabinet yesterday gave final approval to the draft of the Mental Health Act, 2018, aimed at taking necessary steps for overall welfare of patients with mental illness in the country, and ensuring their rights to property.
The approval was given at weekly cabinet meeting, held at Prime Minister's Office (PMO) with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Secretary of the Cabinet Division (Reform and Coordination) NM Zeaul Alam, in his post-meeting briefing said the draft has been prepared to make a time-befitting law considering the present perspective.
He said the law will replace the 105-year-old The Lunacy Act, 1912. The new law suggests providing caring services to patients of mental health, protecting their rights including rights to wealth, rehabilitation and overall welfare, he added.
The law also proposes rigorous punishment for provoking any mental health patient to commit crimes, and stringent punishment for setting up and operating a mental hospital without licence.
According to the law, the government would carry out all activities for expansion, development, control and coordination of the services of the patients.
The government would provide long-term treatment to the mental health patients and constitute a Mental Health Review Monitoring Committee, to facilitate aggrieved persons getting remedy.
The law also has provisions for setting up and operating hospitals and institutes under private sector for the treatment of mentally ill people, and providing quality services in this field.
The draft law provides for a fine of Tk 3 lakh or one year's rigorous jail or both, for a false certificate about mental health of a person given by any mental health service provider.
A guardian or manager would be found guilty to pay penalty of Tk 5 lakh or suffer three years' rigorous imprisonment for negligence in treatment or management of the patient, or in preparing the list of property of a mentally ill patient, or failure to obey any court order to protect the rights of such a patient.
At the beginning of the meeting, the cabinet thanked Bangladesh Women's Cricket Team for qualifying to play T-20 World Cup Cricket in November this year.