The cabinet yesterday approved the proposed National Mental Health Act-2017 to replace a 105-year-old lunacy act suggesting stern actions against those provoking mental patients to commit crimes, and running unlicensed facilities for such patients.
The cabinet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair approved the proposed law in its weekly meeting.
"The new law will replace the 105-year old the Lunacy Act 1912," said Cabinet Secretary Md Shafiul Alam in a media briefing after the meeting.
He said, according to the draft, anybody provoking a mental patient to commit any offence will be fined Tk 5 lakh or two years of jail or both for running a mental hospital without any licence.
"The draft said: A person suffering from mental disabilities … or a drug addict not being able to run his or her normal livelihood, would be defined as mental patient," Alam said.
The draft said the government would constitute a directorate for carrying out mental health related activities.
Alam said guardians of the patients can also apply to the committee to get support for the treatment of their sons and daughters.
The law also has provisions for setting up and operating hospitals and institutes under private sector for treatment of the mental patients and ensuring quality services for them, the cabinet secretary said.