Mental Health Act gets cabinet’s nod


DHAKA, July 16, 2018 (BSS) – The Cabinet has given final approval to the draft of the ‘Mental Health Act, 2018′ aimed at taking necessary steps for overall welfare of the mental patients in the country and ensuring their rights to property.

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

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Secretary of the Cabinet Division (Reform and Coordination) NM Zeaul Alam said the draft has been prepared to make a time befitting law considering the present perspective.

The law will replace the 105-year-old “The Lunacy Act, 1912”, he said adding that the law suggested providing caring services to the patients of mental health, protecting their rights including rights to wealth, rehabilitation and overall welfare.

The law also proposed rigorous punishment for provoking any mental patient to commit crime and stringent punishment for setting up and operating mental hospital without license.

According to the law, the government would carry out all activities for expansion, development, control and coordination of the services of the mental patients.

The government would provide long-term treatment of the mental patients and constitute a Mental Health Review Monitoring Committee to facilitate the aggrieved persons to get remedy.

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 draft law provides for a fine of Taka 3 lakh or one year rigorous jail or both for a false certificate about the mental health of a person given by any mental health service provider.

A guardian or manager would be found guilty to pay penalty of Taka 5 lakh or suffer three years’ rigorous imprisonment for any negligence in treatment or management of the patient or in preparing the list of property of a mental patient or failure to obey any court order to protect the rights of a mental patient.

The meeting also approved the draft of the “National Digital Commerce Policy, 2018” aimed at promoting e-commerce in the country and creating scope of ICT based businesses.

Zealul Alam said the policy has been framed as the digital commerce is expanding rapidly and getting popularity in the country day by day and transactions based on internet, social media and mobile apps are on the rise.

Under the policy, the secretary of the cabinet division said, the Commerce Ministry will constitute a cell and go for vigorous campaign to remove confusion in people about e-transaction as well as acquiring their confidence.

The policy would help create more employment opportunities in industries, promote export and protect the rights of consumers, making all electronic transactions safe and secure as well as identifying the risks and preventing piracy and hacking, he said.

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.

The cabinet adopted an obituary reference expressing condolences at the demise of Saima Haq, elder sister of law minister Advocate Anisul Haq.

The cabinet extended thanks to outgoing Finance Secretary Muslim Chowdhury on his retirement from civil service today. The government appointed him as the Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh for four years, Zeaul Alam said.