MHCA 2017 – Chapter 2

Determination of mental illness

(1) Mental illness shall be determined in accordance with such nationally or internationally accepted medical standards (including the latest edition of the International Classification of Disease of the World Health Organisation) as may be notified by the Central Government.

(2) No person or authority shall classify a person as a person with mental illness, except for purposes directly relating to the treatment of the mental illness or in other matters as covered under this Act or any other law for the time being in force.

(3) Mental illness of a person shall not be determined on the basis of,––
(a) political, economic or social status or membership of a cultural, racial or religious group, or for any other reason not directly relevant to mental health status of the person;
(b) non-conformity with moral, social, cultural, work or political values or religious beliefs prevailing in a person’s community.

(4) Past treatment or hospitalisation in a mental health establishment though relevant, shall not by itself justify any present or future determination of the person’s mental illness.

(5) The determination of a person’s mental illness shall alone not imply or be taken to mean that the person is of unsound mind unless he has been declared as such by a competent court.


Capacity to make mental healthcare and treatment decisions

(1) Every person, including a person with mental illness shall be deemed to have capacity to make decisions regarding his mental healthcare or treatment if such person has ability to—
(a) understand the information that is relevant to take a decision on the treatment or admission or personal assistance; or
(b) appreciate any reasonably foreseeable consequence of a decision or lack of decision on the treatment or admission or personal assistance; or
(c) communicate the decision under sub-clause (a) by means of speech, expression, gesture or any other means.

(2) The information referred to in sub-section (1) shall be given to a person using simple language, which such person understands or in sign language or visual aids or any other means to enable him to understand the information.

(3) Where a person makes a decision regarding his mental healthcare or treatment which is perceived by others as inappropriate or wrong, that by itself, shall not mean that the person does not have the capacity to make mental healthcare or treatment decision, so long as the person has the capacity to make mental healthcare or treatment decision under sub-section (1).