Indian Journal of Private Psychiatry
Volume 17 | Issue 2 | Year 2023

Shortcomings of the Mental Health Care Act 2017 in Indian Context

Debdutta Nayak1https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7330-4441, Subho Panja2https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4204-6851, Himabrata Das3

1–3Department of Psychiatry, Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar, Assam, India

Corresponding Author: Debdutta Nayak, Department of Psychiatry, Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar, Assam, India, Phone: +91 9831193036, e-mail: debfordebduttanayak@gmail.com

How to cite this article: Nayak D, Panja S, Das H. Shortcomings of the Mental Health Care Act 2017 in Indian Context. Ind J Priv Psychiatry 2023;17(2):103–104.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None

Dear Editor,

The Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) 2017, was implemented in the country for ensuring the rights of persons with mental illness (PWMI) and was based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).1 It superseded the previously existing Mental Health Act 1987 (MHA).2 Though MHCA is a powerful act with lots of positivity, there are a few areas of concern regarding its implementation in clinical settings.

This is our generous attempt to emphasize a few of those concerns that we as psychiatrists have experienced in the past few years. They are:

These are among few of the lacunae in this act which is faced by the psychiatrists in their clinical settings which we highlighted.

An overview of the MHCA Act 2017, which emphasized mainly human rights at the expense of proper medical interest was more inclined towards the interest of influential bureaucrats and NGOs neglecting the patient, the caregiver, the psychiatrist, and the Indian sociocultural background also as in our Indian culture doctor is considered as Vaidyo Narayana Hari, however as per the law he seems to be a service provider only.

We can say that every powerful law has loopholes, but here the main problem lies in the beginning while constructing the law. It is very uncanny that during the construction of a law regarding the rights and management of PWMI, no psychiatrist has been involved nor the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS). And the way in which the law has been prepared it is very difficult to implement the law. At the grassroots level considering a developing country like India where there is a huge gap in requirements and allotted resources in health sectors. So, to conclude, the Government is planning to INDIANIZE the medical system and WESTERNIZE the laws which are very conflicting.


Debdutta Nayak https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7330-4441

Subho Panja https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4204-6851


1. Mental Health Care Act 2017. Available from: https://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2017/175248.pdf.

2. Mental Health Act 1987. Available from: https://ncwapps.nic.in/acts/THEMENTALHEALTHACT1987.pdf.

3. Jagadish A, Ali F, Gowda MR. Mental Healthcare Act 2017-The way ahead: Opportunities and challenges. Indian J Psychol Med 2019; 41(2):113–118.DOI: 10.4103/ijpsym.ijpsym_38_19.

4. Rao SS. The mental health care act 2017: A critical review. Telangana Journal of Psychiatry 2018;4(2):55–56. DOI: 10.18231/2455-8559.2018.0002.

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