Section 23 in The Mental Healthcare Act 2017

Title: Right to confidentiality

Description: (1) A person with mental illness shall have the right to confidentiality in respect of his mental health, mental healthcare, treatment and physical healthcare. (2) All health professionals providing care or treatment to a person with mental illness shall have a duty to keep all such information confidential which has been obtained during care or treatment with the following exceptions, namely:— (a) release of information to the nominated representative to enable him to fulfil his duties under this Act; (b) release of information to other mental health professionals and other health professionals to enable them to provide care and treatment to the person with mental illness; (c) release of information if it is necessary to protect any other person from harm or violence; (d) only such information that is necessary to protect against the harm identified shall be released; (e) release only such information as is necessary to prevent threat to life; (f) release of information upon an order by concerned Board or the Central Authority or High Court or Supreme Court or any other statutory authority competent to do so; and (g) release of information in the interests of public safety and security.

Title: Restriction on release of information in respect of mental illness

Description: (1) No photograph or any other information relating to a person with mental illness undergoing treatment at a mental health establishment shall be released to the media without the consent of the person with mental illness. (2) The right to confidentiality of person with mental illness shall also apply to all information stored in electronic or digital format in real or virtual space.

Title: Right to access medical records

Description: (1) All persons with mental illness shall have the right to access their basic medical records as may be prescribed. (2) The mental health professional in charge of such records may withhold specific information in the medical records if disclosure would result in,— (a) serious mental harm to the person with mental illness; or (b) likelihood of harm to other persons. (3) When any information in the medical records is withheld from the person, the mental health professional shall inform the person with mental illness of his right to apply to the concerned Board for an order to release such information.

Title: Right to personal contacts and communication

Description: (1) A person with mental illness admitted to a mental health establishment shall have the right to refuse or receive visitors and to refuse or receive and make telephone or mobile phone calls at reasonable times subject to the norms of such mental health establishment. (2) A person with mental illness admitted in a mental health establishment may send and receive mail through electronic mode including through e-mail. (3) Where a person with mental illness informs the medical officer or mental health professional in charge of the mental health establishment that he does not want to receive mail or e-mail from any named person in the community, the medical officer or mental health professional in charge may restrict such communication by the named person with the person with mental illness. (4) Nothing contained in sub-sections (1) to (3) shall apply to visits from, telephone calls to, and from mail or e-mail to, and from individuals, specified under clauses (a) to (f) under any circumstances, namely:— (a) any Judge or officer authorised by a competent court; (b) members of the concerned Board or the Central Authority or the State Authority; (c) any member of the Parliament or a Member of State Legislature; (d) nominated representative, lawyer or legal representative of the person; (e) medical practitioner in charge of the person's treatment; (f) any other person authorised by the appropriate Government.

Title:  Right to legal aid

Description: (1) A person with mental illness shall be entitled to receive free legal services to exercise any of his rights given under this Act. (2) It shall be the duty of magistrate, police officer, person in charge of such custodial institution as may be prescribed or medical officer or mental health professional in charge of a mental health establishment to inform the person with mental illness that he is entitled to free legal services under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (39 of 1987) or other relevant laws or under any order of the court if so ordered and provide the contact details of the availability of services.