New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Centre and the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) on the insurance companies refusing coverage of the mental illness.
A bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Navin Sinha and BR Gavai admitted for hearing a petition by lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing as the petitioner-in-person, seeking a direction to IRDA to implement provisions of Mental Healthcare Act-2017 in letter and spirit and submit an action taken report.
The lawyer told the court Section 21(4) of the Act provides for inclusion of mental illness in insurance policies, but it is not complied with till date because of the red tape attitude of IRDA as its failure in not regulating the insurance companies in this regard is creating a lot of hardship to the mentally ill persons. “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,” Bansal said.
“That one of the Right which Mental Healthcare Act 2017 provides is that the insurer is directed to not to discriminate with Person with Mental Illness (PMI) only on the basis of mental illness and as such is further mandated by Parliament to treat Persons with mental illness alike other diseases as far as medical insurance is concerned,” the plea said.
Bansal said to check out the end result of a circular issued by IRDA on August 16, 2018 to implement the Act, he had filed a plea on January 10, 2019 under section 6 of RTI Act 2005 and he was informed in the reply to date none of the insurers implemented its order and despite this, the regulator did not taken any action against any of the insurers.
The plea said, “Despite the fact one year has passed, situation as far as implementation of Section 21 (4) of MHCA 2017 remains the same and what surprised the petitioner is instead of regulating insurance companies, IRDA is acting more like a facilitator for Insurers.”
SC no to curbs on FIR against journalists
The SC on Tuesday refused to put any restrictions on registration of the FIRs and criminal cases against the journalists and told Mumbai-based lawyer Ghanshyam Upadhyay to better give a representation before the Centre.
It was hearing a plea no FIR should be lodged against journalists for publishing or telecasting news unless sanction has been granted by the Press Council of India (PCI) constituted under an Act of Parliament or any other judicial authority.
A Bench of CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna heard Upadhyay through video-conferencing on how some TV news channels are targeted with a score of FIRs filed in different states to snub their voice and to prevent them from awakening the citizens from nefarious and dangerous activities of “anti-social and anti-national persons.”
SC allows reduction of foetus of 25 weeks with down syndrome
The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed reduction of the 25-week-old foetus affected with down syndrome in case of a 33-year-old woman from Mumbai with twin pregnancy, reversing the Bombay High Court’s refusal on May 22 on the ground that it may not be safe for the mother and it may affect the other normal foetus.
The Bench of Justices Mrs R Banumathi, Ms Indu Malhotra and Aniruddha Bose permitted to undergo the foetal reduction as per the procedure stated by Dr Purnima Satoskar, as a member of the medical board, with the opinion that “there is no direct risk of the procedure to normal twin as the circulations of the twins are separate and the procedure carries negligible risks similar to amniocentesis to mother and is proven extremely safe with no maternal deaths.” —Our Bureau
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