The Rajya Sabha on Monday unanimously passed the Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, seeking to decriminalise suicide attempts and provide better healthcare facilities for people suffering from mental illness. The bill will now move to the Lok Sabha next. The Mental Health Care Bill 2013 seeks to decriminalise acts of suicide by linking them to the state of mental health of the person attempting the act. A person who attempts to commit suicide will be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code which penalizes attempted suicide.
“Humane & Progressive”
Other objectives of this bill include ensuring healthcare, treatment and rehabilitation of mentally ill persons. The bill gives one the right to select a representative, who will design the mode of treatment according to which the person will be treated if he/she gets diagnosed with a mental illness.
The Bill has been termed by Health Minister J P Nadda as “humane and progressive”. Its aim to prioritise the interests of patients. Another significant aspect of this bill is that it bans the use of electric shock therapy for treating children with mental illness and only permits its use on adults after they have been given anaesthesia and muscle relaxants.