Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 392
Law and Psychiatry

Clinical Director, North India Psychiatry Centre 95 A, Model Gram, Ludhiana 141002, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication29-Dec-2010

How to cite this article:
Kala A K. Law and Psychiatry. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52:392

How to cite this URL:
Kala A K. Law and Psychiatry. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Dec 8];52:392. Available from:

By Dr. K. S. Mohan and Adv. P. S. Sreedharan Pillai

Vigil Human Rights, Calicut, May 2010, p. 244, Rs. 400

Pages 244; Price Rs 400

The book, written by a psychiatrist, lawyer duo, attempts to comprehensively cover the important area of overlap between Law and Psychiatry and does succeed in doing so to some extent. However, in trying to simultaneously address two distinct readership categories of psychiatrists interested in law and lawyers interested in psychiatry, the book ends up making some compromises. For example, psychiatrists would not be interested in long descriptions of various mental illnesses, nor would the lawyers be interested in cursory descriptions of various sections of the law relevant to the field.

There are some factual errors too. The section on sexual disorders lists homosexuality as a disorder while no international classification of diseases any longer considers these behavioral patterns as such.

A whole chapter is devoted to descriptions of narcoanalysis, brain mapping and brain finger printing techniques, which have no scientific value. A recent Supreme Court judgment banned these techniques, except with individual's consent (the judgment of May 2010 is not even mentioned). The Supreme Court also held that the findings of these tests cannot be admitted as evidence.

In some parts of this book, not only Indian Lunacy Act of 1914 and Mental Health Act, 1987 are mentioned interchangeably but also the word lunatic is used freely, which is jarring, to say the least, to read in a book published in 2010. The chapters on "Insanity and Trial" and "History of Forensic Psychiatry" are relatively well written.

There are glaring printing and line editing errors. 108 out of 244 pages contain just the Mental Health Act, 1987 and National Trust Act, 1999.

All in all, a good book for a quick reference, but certainly not a treatise on the subject.

Correspondence Address:
A K Kala
Clinical Director, North India Psychiatry Centre 95 A, Model Gram, Ludhiana 141002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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