The Union Cabinet on 30 January 2014 approved the amendments in the Mental Health Care Bill with an aim to empower people suffering from mental illness and to protect their rights.
The Mental Health Care Bill 2013 was introduced in Rajya Sabha in August 2013 and was sent to Parliamentary Standing Committee, which recommended some amendments.
The new bill seeks to decriminalise suicide and make access to affordable mental health care a right for all. This is the first time in India, that a bill that seeks to decremanlise acts of suicide by linking it to the state of mental health of the person attempting the act has been presented in the Rajya Sabha and approved by the Cabinet.
As per the Bill People suffering from mental health attempting suicide would be treated as mentally ill and therefore the act will be exempted from the provisions of Section 309 of Indian Penal Code.
This bill has fulfilled the gap in the mental health law in the country after India Ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that requires hormonisation in its laws with those prevalent worldwide. The convention was signed by India on 1 October 2007 and it came into force from 3 May 2008.
Who: Union Cabinet
When: 30 January 2014