SC notice to Centre, IRDAI over insurance for mental illnesses
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sent notices to the Centre and the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) on a plea seeking financial cover for mental illnesses. The development comes mere two days after the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Rajput was reportedly suffering from depression and his death has sparked a conversation about mental health. Here are more details.
IRDAI violated Mental Healthcare Act, plea argues
According to LiveLaw, the petitioner, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, argued that the IRDAI violated Section 21(4) of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, which mandates insurance coverage for mental illnesses. However, despite the statute and a letter issued by the IRDAI directing all insurance companies to comply with it, there has been no follow-up by the regulatory body, the petitioner argued.
Section 21(4) included after Centre ratified UNCRPD
The plea further mentions that the inclusion of Section 21(4) was the result of the Centre's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), LiveLaw reported.
'IRDAI bypassing responsibilities instead of levying punishment'
The plea mentioned, "Instead of levying punishment on insurers for not including the provision of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, [IRDAI] is bypassing its responsibilities." Accusing the IRDAI of acting like a facilitator for insurers, the plea added, "The biasness of the [IRDAI] is in itself discrimination against persons with mental illness and as such is causing immense hardship for persons with mental illness."
Court seeks response from Health Ministry, IRDAI
During the hearing, Bansal also told the Supreme Court that the IRDAI's "red tape attitude" was the reason for non-compliance of Section 21(4). A bench of Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Navin Sinha, and BR Gavai heard the matter and has sent notices to the Union Health Ministry and the IRDAI. The matter has been listed for further hearing after two weeks.
Sushant Singh Rajput recently found hanging at home
Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput had killed himself at his home in Mumbai on Sunday. The actor, aged 34, was found hanging in his room. Rajput had reportedly been suffering from depression. No suicide note has been found. A provisional post-mortem mentioned the cause of death as asphyxia due to hanging. The last rites were performed at Mumbai's Pawan Hans crematorium on Monday.