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Mental Health Act, 1987

Chapter III - Psychiatric Hospitals and Psychiatric Nursing Homes

5. Establishment or maintenance of psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric nursing homes

     1.  The Central Government may, in any part of India, or the state government may, within the limits of its jurisdiction, established or maintain psychiatric hospitals hospitals or psychiatric nursing homes for the admission , and care of mentally ill persons at such places as it thinks fit ; and separate psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric nursing homes may be established or maintained for, -

         a.  those who are under the age of sixteen years;

         b. those who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs which lead to behavioural changes in a persons ;

         c.  those who have been convicted of any offence; and

        d.  those belonging to such other or category of persons as may be prescribed .

      2. Where a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home is established or maintained by the Central Government, any reference in this Act to the State Government shall, in relation to such hospital or nursing home, be construed as a reference to the Central Government.

COMMENT - This section empowers the Central Government or the State Government to established or maintain psychiatric nursing homes.

6. Establishment or maintenance of psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric nursing homes only with licence

      1. On and after the commencement of this Act, no person shall established or maintain a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home unless he holds a valid licence granted to him under this Act:

          Provided that a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home (whether called asylum or by any other name) licensed by the central government or any state Government and maintained as such immediately before the commencement of this Act may continue to be maintained, and shall be deemed to be a licensed psychiatric hospital or licensed phychiatric nursing home, as the case may be, under this Act,-

         a. for a period of three months from such commencement,

         b. if an application made in accordance with Sec. 7 for a licence is pending on the expiry of the period specified in CI. (a) till the disposal of such application.

    2. Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall apply to a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home established or maintained by a Central Government or a State Government.

COMMENT - This section prohibits establishment or maintenance of any psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home by any person, unless he holds a valid licence granted to him under the Act.

7. Application for licence

         1. Every person, who holds, at the commencement of this Act, a valid licence authorising that person to establish or maintain any psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, shall, if the said person intends to establish or continue the maintenance of such hospital or nursing home after the expiry of the period referred to in Cl. (a) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Sec. 6, make at least one month before the expiry of such period, an application to the licensing authority for the grant of a fresh licence for the establishment or maintenance of such hospital or nursing home, as the case may be.

         2. A person, who intends to establish or maintain, after the commencement of this Act, a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, shall, unless the said person already holds a valid licence, make an application to the licence authority for the grant of a licence.

        3. Every application under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be in such form and be accompanied by such fee as may be prescribed.

COMMENT - This section provides for application for licence for establishment or maintenance of psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing homes.

8. Grant or refusal of licence

     On receipt of an application under Sec.7, the licensing authority shall make such inquiries as it may deem fit and where it is satisfied that -

      a. the establishment or maintenance of the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home or the continuance of the maintenance of any such hospital or nursing home established before the commencement of this Act is necessary;

      b. the applicant is in a position to provide the minimum facilities prescribed for the admission, treatment and care of mentally ill persons; and 

      c. the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, will be under the charge of medical officer who is a psychiatrist.

    It shall grant a licence to the applicant in the prescribed form, and where it is not so satisfied, the licensing authority shall, by order, refuse to grant the licence applied for:

    Provided that, before making any order refusing to grant a licence, the licensing authority shall give to the applicant a reasonable opportunity of being heard and every order of refusal to grant a licence shall set out therein the reasons for such refusal and such reasons shall be communicated to the applicant in such manner as may be prescribed.

COMMENT - This section empowers the licensing authority to grant or refuse licence for establishment or maintenance of psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing homes.

9. Duration and renewal of licence

      1. A licence shall not be transferable or heritable.

      2. Where a licensee is unable to function as such for any reason or where a licensee dies, the licensee or, as the case may be, the legal representative of such licensee shall forthwith report the matter in the prescribed manner to the licensing authority and notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (I), the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home concerned may continue to be maintained and shall be deemed to be a licensed psychiatric hospital or licensed psychiatric nursing home, as the case may be :-

         a. for a period of three months from the date of such report or in the case of the death of the licensee from the date of his death, or

         b. if an application made in accordance with sub-section (3) for a licence is pending on the expiry of the period specified in Cl. (a), till the disposal of such application.

     3. The legal representative of the licensee referred to in sub-section (2) shall, if he intends to continue the maintenance of the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home after the expiry of the period referee to in sub-section (2), make , at least one month before the expiry of such period, an application to the licensing authority for the grant of a fresh licence for the maintenance of such hospital or nursing home, as the case may be, and the provisions of Sec. 8 shall apply in relation to such application as they apply in relation to an application made under Sec.7

    4. Every licence shall, unless revoked earlier under Sec. 11, be valid for a period of five years from the date on which it is granted.

   5. A licence may be renewed from time to time, on an application made in that behalf to the licensing authority, in such form and accompanied by such fee, as may be prescribed, and every such application shall be made not less than one year before the date on which the period of validity of the licence is due to expire:

         Provided that the renewal of a licence shall not be refused unless the licensing authority is satisfied that -

    i. the licensee is not in a position to provide in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, the minimum facilities prescribed for the admission, treatment and care therein mentally ill persons; or

   ii. the licensee is not in a position to provide a medical officer which is a psychiatrist to take charge of the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, or

   iii. the licensee has contravened any of the provisions of this Act or any rule made thereunder.

COMMENT - This section empowers the licensing authority to grant or refuse licence for establishment or maintenance of the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, under certain circumstances.

10. Psychiatric hospital and psychiatric nursing home to be maintained in accordance with prescribed conditions

         Every psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home shall be maintained in such manner and object to such condition as may be prescribed.

COMMENT - This section lays down that every psychiatric hospital/nursing home shall be maintained properly according to the prescribed conditions.

11. Revocation of licence

      1. The licensing authority may, without prejudice to any other penalty that may be imposed on the licensee, by order in writing, revoke the licence if it is satisfied that -

         a. the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home is not being maintained by the licensee in accordance with the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder; or

         b. the maintenance of the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home is being carried on in a manner detrimental to the moral, mental or physical well-being of other in-patients thereof:

        Provided that no such order shall be made except after giving the licensee a reasonable opportunity of being heard, and every such order shall set out therein the grounds for the revocation of the licence and such grounds shall be communicated to the licensee in such manner as may be prescribed.

   2. Every order made under sub-section (1) shall contain a direction that the in-patients of the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home shall be transferred to such other psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home as may be specified in that order and it shall also contain such provisions (including provisions by way of directions) as to the care and custody of such in-patients pending such transfer.

   3. Every order made under sub-section (1) shall take effect -

         a. where no appeal has been preferred against such order under Sec. 12, immediately on the expiry of the period prescribed for such appeal; and

         b. where such appeal has been preferred and the same has been dismissed, from the date of the order of such dismissal.

COMMENT - This section empowers the licensing authority to revoke the licence in case the psychiatric hospital or nursing home is not maintained properly or its maintenance is detrimental to the well-being of the in-patients thereof.

12. Appeal

           1. Any person aggrieved by an order of the licensing authority refusing to grant or renew a licence, or revoking a licence, may, in such manner and within such period as may be prescribed, prefer an appeal to the State Government:

             Provided that the State Government may entertain an appeal preferred after the expiry of the prescribed period if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal in time.

        2. Every appeal under sub-section(1) shall be made in such form and accompanied by such fee as may be prescribed.

COMMENT - This section makes provision for preferring an appeal to the State Government by any aggrieved person against the order of the licensing authority refusing to grant or renew a licence, or revoking a licence for establishment or maintenance of the psychiatric hospital/nursing home.

13. Inspection of psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric nursing homes and visiting of patients

        1. An Inspecting Officer may, at any time, enter and inspect any psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home and require the production of any records, which are required to be kept in accordance with the rules made in this behalf, for inspection: Provided that any personal records of a patient so inspected shall be kept confidential except for the purposes of sub-section (3).

       2. The Inspecting Officer may interview in private any patient receiving treatment and care therein -

           a. for the purpose of inquiring into any complaint made by or on behalf of such patient as to the treatment and care.

           b. in any case, where the Inspecting Officer has reason to believe that any in-patient is not receiving proper treatment and care.

      3. Where the Inspecting Officer is satisfied that any in-patient in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home is not receiving proper treatment and care, he may report the matter to the licensing authority and thereupon the licensing authority may issue such direction as it may deem fit to the medical officer-in-charge of the licensee of the psychiatric hospital, or, as the case may be, the psychiatric nursing home and every such medical officer-in-charge or licensee shall be bound to comply with such directions.

COMMENT - This section empowers an Inspecting Officer to inspect psychiatric hospitals / nursing homes, records thereof and to visit and interview patients receiving treatment and care therein.

14. Treatment of out-patient

          Provision shall be made in every psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing homes for such facilities as may be prescribed for the treatment of every mentally ill - persons, patients or who, for the time being, is not undergoing treatment as in - patients.

COMMENT - This section makes, provision for the treatment of mentally ill persons in the psychiatric hospital / nursing home, as an out - patients, in case his condition dies not warrant his admission or an in - patient.

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