Lok Sabha passes Mental Healthcare Bill that decriminalises
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Mental Healthcare Bill 2016 that recognises the rights of mentally ill people to affordable treatment and also seeks to decriminalise suicide has been passed by Lok Sabha. The Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha in August last year, will replace the Mental Health Act 1987.

The most important amendment made in the Bill is that it decriminalises suicide. “Any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to be suffering from mental illness,” the Bill states. The person will not be liable to punishment under the Indian Penal Code, as was the case until now.

Electro-convulsive therapy for minors and sterilisation of patients has been barred under the Bill. Patients also cannot be chained in any manner. The Bill also allows patients to determine the kind of treatment they can undertake and all insurance companies now have to provide medical insurance policies for the mentally ill.

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