Supreme Court issues notice in plea alleging bias by IRDA in directing Insurance coverage for persons with mental illness

Image for representational purposes
Image for representational purposes

The Supreme Court today issued notice in a plea seeking directions from the Central government and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to all insurance companies to extend medical insurance for treatment of mental illness.

Notice was issued in the matter by the Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha, and BR Gavai.

Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice  Navin Sinha and Justice BR Gavai
Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice BR Gavai

The plea moved by Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal primarily draws the Court's attention to the violation of Section 21 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, which deals with non-discrimination of persons suffering from mental illness.

It is further stated that the Parliament of India had mandated that mental illness be treated at par with other kinds of illness for the purposes of insurance coverage.

The plea states that though IRDA had issued a circular mandating that all insurers act in accordance with the Mental Healthcare Act, an RTI filed by the petitioner in 2019 had revealed that none of the insurance companies had complied with the same.

"Despite having specific provisions under the law, IRDA is reluctant in taking immediate action.The biasness of IRDA is in itself discrimination against persons with msntal illness and as such is causing immense hardship for persons with mental illness. Instead of levying punishment for not complying with MHA 2017, IRDA is bypassing its responsibilities."

Plea filed in Supreme Court

The plea further makes a case that the IRDA's bias is hampering the rehabilitation process of thousands of persons with mental illness.

[Read petition]

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