In a very positive development today at the parliament, the Mental Healthcare Bill 2016 was passed ensuring the rights for mental healthcare and services for mental illness as well as discriminating suicide.
The landmark bill got approval from the Lok Sabha to become the legislation. It was passed by Rajya Sabha in August 2016.
The bill will ensure that every person utilizes the right to access mental health care and treatment from mental health services run or funded by the appropriate government.
It also assures free treatment for such persons if they are homeless or poor, even if they do not possess a Below Poverty Line card.
One of the clauses in the bill decriminalises suicide, stating that a person who attempts suicide should be presumed to have severe stress, and shall not be punished.
The bill also said that “Notwithstanding anything contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code.”
As per the bill, it will be government’s duty to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation to a person, having severe stress and who attempted to commit suicide, to reduce the risk of recurrence of any attempt.