I was admitted as a voluntary impatient to a well known psychiatric hospital in Bangalore three years ago and I was a major or above eighteen years of age that time. I later asked for my discharge which they refused without any reason. They kept me so as an inmate against my consent for almost eight days. An year later, I went and collected my medical record. As per section 1.3.2 of Indian Medical Council Rules and Regulations, I had the right to obtain the copy of medical record. As per section 1.3.1, they have to maintain that record with them for three years i.e till June 26 2014.
Section 18 of National Mental Health Act clearly states that.
The medical officer-in-charge of a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home shall, on a request made in that behalf -
By any voluntary patient; and
By the guardian of the patient, if he is a minor voluntary patient, discharge, subject to the provisions of sub-section (3) and within twenty-four hours of the receipt of such request, the patient from the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home.
The subsection 3 of the same section mentions that.
Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) where the medical officer-incharge of a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home is satisfied that the discharge of a voluntary patient under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) will not be in the interest of such voluntary patient, he shall, within seventy-two hours of the receipt of a request under sub-section (1), or, if no request under sub-section (2) has been made by the voluntary patient before the expiry of the period mentioned in that sub-section within seventy-two hours of such expiry constitute a Board consisting of two medical officers and seek its opinion as to whether such voluntary patient needs further treatment and if the Board is of the opinion that such voluntary patient needs further treatment in the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home the medical officer shall not discharge the voluntary patient, but continue his treatment for a period not exceeding ninety days at a time.
I could see no hints of any such procedure being done when my request for discharge was constantly denied. They had to get the magistrates permission had they wanted to detain me further. They needed to state that I would be a danger to myself or the soceity if I was let free. They never did any such thing.
Now as per National Mental Health Act 1987,
85 Any person who receives or detains or keeps a mentally ill person in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home otherwise than in accordance with the provision of this Act, shall, on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Now it had been clearly stated in many places in my medical record that I had been repeatedly asking for my discharge and they were just detaining me without any reason. They could not even diagnose any illness for me throughout the time. It even says that I was kept in hospital with no therapy or treatment whatsoever during the last days there.
They also said many rude things to me but I have no evidence for that. But I have whatever they made in writing. The Junior Resident though not in the authority to discharge me was extremely rude and her behavior was not fit for a doctor. She had written that I asked for discharge and my request was not granted.
However I live far off Bangalore and I have very little time for proceeding on with the case. So will it be possible for a lawyer to handle the case for me. And do I need to appear in court. All that will be required to prove them guilty is my medical record and it is in writing. And how much would the lawyer fees cost? Could the copy of medical record I have be used against them after they dispose of the record in their collection? That copy is not attested.