President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Mental Healthcare Act, 2016. Suicide attempts by a mentally ill person will not be punishable under this new law which got nod from the President on Friday.
A person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code. The law also prohibits use of shock therapy, without the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia on a patient suffering from mental illness. Besides this, such patients cannot be chained in any manner.
The law aims to provide mental healthcare and services to persons with mental illness and to protect their rights.
A person with mental illness will have the right to confidentiality in respect of his mental health, mental health care, treatment and physical health care.
Under the Act, a child under the age of three years will not be separated from his or her mother, if the mother is receiving care, treatment or rehabilitation at a mental health establishment.
It also provides for a penalty and imprisonment in case of violation of its provisions. It also provides provision for medical insurance for the treatment of mental illness.