Bill to decriminalise suicide passed

Bill to decriminalise suicide passed
A bill to decriminalise suicide and provide for protection, promotion and a right to better healthcare to people suffering from mental illness got the Parliament’s nod on Monday. The bill, passed by the Rajya Sabha with more than 100 amendments in August, got approval of the Lok Sabha with most of the political parties extending their support. The bill was passed by voice vote.

“This is a patient-centric bill. It empowers an individual by giving him the right to treatment for mental illness. It compels the states to formulate mental healthcare programme. This bill is historic because it was passed with highest number of amendments in the Rajya Sabha,” Health Minister J P Nadda said in his reply to the debate on the provisions of the bill.  The bill stipulates that a person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be liable for punishment under the Indian Penal Code.

“This will in effect decriminalise suicide,” Nadda said. Special provisions for the treatment of women patients have been made in the bill. “A mother suffering from mental illness can only be separated from her child on valid reasons. Such mothers’ right to access to their children will always be there,” Nadda said.  


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