A Review of Reception Order in the Management of Mentally Ill Persons in a Psychiatric Institute

By Subramanian, Nakkeerar; Ramanathan, Rajkumar et al. | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, April-June 2016 | Go to article overview

A Review of Reception Order in the Management of Mentally Ill Persons in a Psychiatric Institute


Subramanian, Nakkeerar, Ramanathan, Rajkumar, Kumar, Venkatesh, Chellappan, Dhanabalan, Ramasamy, Jeyaprakash, Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: Nakkeerar. Subramanian, Rajkumar. Ramanathan, Venkatesh. Kumar, Dhanabalan. Chellappan, Jeyaprakash. Ramasamy

Background: Mentally ill prisoners, when requiring admission in a psychiatric facility, have to be admitted only by a reception order of a judicial magistrate and convicts by warrants issued by the Government to jail superintendents and the superintendent of the hospital. Both can be only under Section 27 of The Mental Health Act, 1987. Materials and Methods: A study of the contents of reception order and warrants regarding the acts and section under which they were issued over 1 year period for the admission of the patients in the criminal ward of the Institute of Mental Health was carried out. Results: Only three reception orders quoted Section 27 out of 54 patients admitted under a reception order. Nineteen patients were admitted by the jail superintendents. Discussion: Various issues that were found in the reception order and their consequences are discussed, and a possible response to these issues is mooted. Conclusion: Almost none of the reception orders were found to be proper. This deficit needs to be rectified by sensitizing the various authorities.

Introduction

Admission and management of psychiatric patients in a psychiatric nursing home or hospital is under a specific provision called The Mental Health Act (MHA), 1987.[sup][1] There is no legal provision for the admission of these patients for physical illnesses. There are circumstances where judiciary is involved in admitting the mentally ill patients into a psychiatric facility by the court orders and convicts by jail superintendents. There are two instances:

In the first instance, two situations are possible.

*Patients have to be detained against their will by reason of mental ill health, though there are no criminal charges against them (civil patients) *In persons who are accused of crimes and where there is an issue of their mental health comes into question (criminal patients).

In the second instance, two situations are possible.

*When the person's competence to stand trial is in question *When the mental status of the person is in question at the time of alleged commission of crime.

In all the above instances, the medical officer in-charge is ordered by the judiciary to take charge, detain, and care the patients, under the provisions of the MHA, 1987.[sup][1] Apart from these situations, the State Government can direct the jail superintendent to send prisoners who have been convicted of crimes to a mental health facility when they require treatment.

The MHA, 1987[sup][1] defines “reception order” as an order made under the provisions of this act for the detention and care of a mentally ill person in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home.

Reception order can be issued by judicial magistrates or by The Commissioner of Police by virtue of his/her office, being an executive magistrate for the purpose of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973[sup][2](Central Act 2 of 1974), and shall exercise the powers as an executive magistrate, subject to such orders as the State Government may, from time to time, issue (The Chennai City Police Act, 1888,[sup][3] Section 36 of MHA, 1987).

As per The Mental Health Act, 1987,[sup][1] “mentally ill prisoner means a mentally ill person for whose detention in, or removal to, a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, jail, or other places of safe custody, for whom an order referred to in Section 27 has been made”.

Section 27 of the MHA, 1987,[sup][1] an order under Section 30 of Prisoners Act, 1900 (3 of 1900) or under Section 144 of the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950) or under Section 145 of the Army Act, 1950 (946 of 1950) or under Section 143 or Section 144 of the Navy Act, 1957 (62 of 1957), or under Section 330 or Section 335 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), are the provisions under various acts which direct the reception of a mentally ill prisoner into a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home. …

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