SC Seeks Centre, IRDA’s Reply On Plea For Inclusion Of Mental Illness In Insurance Policies

A bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Navin Sinha and BR Gavai heard the matter and issued notices to the Union Health Ministry and the regulatory body. The

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre and the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) on a plea alleging violation of provisions of Mental health law, which deals with right to equality and non-discrimination.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and B R Gavai issued notice on the plea and sought their responses.

During the hearing, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing as petitioner in-person, said that Section 21 (4) of Mental Health Act 2017 provides for inclusion of mental illness in insurance policies but till date because of the red tape attitude of IRDA, the provision has not been complied with.

He also blamed IRDA for not ensuring that insurance companies implement section 21 (4) of Mental Health Act 2017.

This is creating lot of hardship to mentally ill persons, said he.

The plea also contended that the inclusion of mental illnesses under the insurance coverage is a result of the Centre’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

During the hearing, the petitioner told the court that the “red tape attitude” of IRDAI was the reason the provisions were not being complied with, and that this was leading to a lot of hardships for mentally-ill people.

“The bias of IRDA is in itself discrimination against persons with mental illness and as such is causing immense hardship for persons with mental illness. Instead of levying punishment on Insurers for not including the provision of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017, IRDA is bypassing its responsibilities,” he said.

Bansal pointed out that IRDA was formed with the prime mission to protect the interests of the policy- holders but its acts seem to divert from its main motive.

A bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Navin Sinha and BR Gavai heard the matter and issued notices to the Union Health Ministry and the regulatory body. The court posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

 

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