Chapter-17 Forensic Psychiatry

BOOK TITLE: Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

1. D Jija
2. K Shija
Publishing Year
Author Affiliations
1. Government College of Nursing, Thiruvananthapuram, India
2. Government College of Nursing, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Chapter keywords
Forensic psychiatry, criminal responsibility, civil responsibility, Leave of Absence, Mental Health Care Act, Mental Health Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Indian Lunacy Act


The chapter discusses about the forensic psychiatry, which is the branch of psychiatry which deals with relation of legal principles to mental disorders. Forensic psychiatry includes criminal responsibility, civil responsibility, laws relating to psychiatric disorders, rights of mentally ill, and admission procedures of mentally ill. Indian Lunacy Act (ILA, 1912) resulted in the establishment of new asylums and improvement in existing conditions of asylums. Mental Health Act, 1987, was aimed to consolidate and amend the law relating to treatment and care of mentally ill persons regarding their property. Leave of absence (Section 45) is an application for leave of absence on behalf of any mentally ill person (not being a mentally ill prisoner) undergoing treatment as an inpatient in any psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home may be made by the husband or wife to the medical officer-in-charge. Mental Health Care Act, 2017, aims to provide for mental health care and services for persons with mental illness. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, prohibits a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any psychotropic drug or narcotic. Legal responsibilities of a nurse in the care of mentally ill patients are also discussed.

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