Rajya Sabha passes Mental Health Care Bill

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Mental Health Care Bill to provide better healthcare for people suffering from mental illness and also to decriminalise suicide.

The progressive legislation and is patient centric Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha by the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda.

Key Features

  • The Bill provides, every person has right to access mental health care and treatment from services run or funded by the government.
  • Under it, these also have right to equality of treatment, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment, access to their medical records free legal services etc.
  • It also has a provision to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of such persons during delivery of mental health care and services.
  • The Bill focuses on community based treatment and special provisions for women and health have also been provided.
  • In case of person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumedto be suffering from mental illness at the time of attempting suicide unless proved otherwise.
  • Such person shall not be liable to punishment under section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • It also provides for establishment of Central and State Mental Health Authority. It also establishes Mental Health Review Commission and Board (MHRCB) as a quasi-judicial body.

Background

The Bill was proposed as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India is signatory. It requires the countries to align their laws with the Convention. In India, around 6 to 7 per cent of the population suffers from some kind of mental illnesses, while 1 to 2 per cent suffers from acute mental disease.

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Categories: Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017India Current Affairs 2017

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