Parliament passes mental health bill, decriminalises suicide
The Lok Sabha approved the Mental Healthcare Bill on Monday. Photograph: (AFP)
The Parliament on Monday passed the Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016 as the Lok Sabha approved the bill.
The bill seeks to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of such persons during delivery of healthcare services.
The bill also states that a person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code.
A person with mental illness will have the right to confidentiality in respect of his mental health, mental healthcare, treatment and physical healthcare.
Under the bill, a child under the age of three years will not be separated from his or her mother, if the mother is receiving care, treatment or rehabilitation at a mental health establishment.
The bill also provides for a penalty and imprisonment in case of violation of its provisions. Replying to a debate on the bill, Health Minister JP Nadda described the legislation as progressive and patient centric.