Taking a huge step towards the betterment of people with mental health issues, the Lok Sabha on March 27 passed the ‘Mental Healthcare Bill 2016’ which will provide better services for people with mental illness.
The biggest point of this bill was that it also decriminalized suicide, thus no longer making it an offense in the eyes of the law.
The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha last year in August 2016, and the Lok Sabha gave its assent on the legislation on Monday, March 27 without suggesting any changes.
The bill will ensure that every person across India shall now have a right to access mental health care facilities and treatment which are run or funded by the appropriate government.
It will also ensure that any person, regardless of their financial condition, will get free treatment for mental health issues even if they are homeless, poor or don’t possess a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card.
One of the clauses in the bill is also decriminalizing suicide, thus stating that any person who attempts suicide should now not be punished under the law and it shall be presumed that he or she has severe stress.
“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.”