Suicide in India: A break for the despairing
India decriminalises attempted suicide.
Gorav Gupta has spent his life helping the mentally ill.
But when suicidal patients seek help at his psychiatric hospital in Delhi, he turns them away.
Mr Gupta says he cannot handle the “legal hassle” that might ensue if they try to end their lives while in his care.
Attempted suicide, as well as “any act towards the commission” of suicide, has for years been a crime in India.
But on March 27th, the Lok Sabha, India's lower house, passed a package of mental-health reforms, among them one that decriminalises attempted suicide.
The bill declares access to psychiatric care to be a right for all Indians, and promises a huge boost in funding to help provide it.
Policymakers in India have long argued that people driven to attempt suicide need rehabilitation.
But under the previous law, they faced punishment: a fine and up to a year in prison.
Prosecution was rare, but the threat of it to extract bribes from the families of those who attempted suicide was not, says Soumitra Pathare, who helped draft the new legislation.
帮助起草这项法案的Soumitra Pathare说，帮助起草这项新法案的Soumitra Pathare表示，起诉虽寥寥无几，但威胁之处在于对那些自杀未遂之人的家庭贪赃枉法的比比皆是。
Others point out that the government has previously used laws against attempted suicide to lock up activists who stage hunger strikes.
The next step in mental-health reform is to allocate more money and expand the workforce, says Mr Pathare.