The Mental Healthcare Bill, 2013 tabled in Rajya Sabha
Mahendra Singh TNN
New Delhi: A legislation to protect rights of persons with mental illness and ensure people with such disabilities are treated humanely by banning practices like tonsuring or chaining of patients was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Monday.
The bill allows adults to make an “advance directive” or decide on a course of action regarding how they wish to be treated in case they develop a mental ailment.
The advance directive is to be furnished by a person and registered with a Mental Board to be set up by the government at both central and state levels. The bill also provides for an individual to appoint a nominated representative to decide on the nature of treatment in the event of a mental illness afflicting the person.
The person writing the advance directive and his nominated representative shall have a duty to ensure that the medical officer in charge of a facility has access to the provision.
Importantly, the bill ensures that all insurance companies will have to make provisions for treatment of mental illness.
The proposed law is seen as a path-breaking exercise in trying to codify legal protection for those who suffer from mental illness.
The Mental Healthcare Bill, 2013, seeks to safeguard the right to access mental healthcare, right to community living, right to protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and right to equality and non-discrimination.
The bill seeks to regulate both public and private mental health sectors along with establishing a mental health system integrated into all levels of general healthcare.
Under the provisions of the bill, government has the obligation to provide half way homes, community caring centres and other shelters for mentally ill people.
Bill on mental illness bans practices like tonsuring or chaining of patients
It allows adults to decide on a course of action on how they wish to be treated in case they develop mental ailment
It ensures insurance firms will have to make provisions for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness