On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sought response from the central government and the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) on a plea alleging violation of provisions of Mental health Law, which deals with the right to equality and non-discrimination.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and B R Gavai issued a 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 the inclusion of mental illness in insurance policies but till date because of the red tape attitude of IRDAI, the provision has not been complied with.
He said the failure of IRDAI in not regulating insurance companies to implement section 21 (4) of the Mental Health Act 2017, is creating a lot of hardship to those suffering for mental illnesses.
Bansal said the grievance is that despite having specific provisions under the law, IRDAI is reluctant in taking immediate action.
"The bias of IRDAI 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, IRDAI is bypassing its responsibilities," he said.
It said that following the enactment of the law, IRDAI had on August 16, 2018, issued a circular to all the insurers to comply with the provisions of the Mental Health Act, 2017.
The plea sought a direction to IRDAI to implement provisions of Mental Healthcare Act-2017 in letter and spirit and submit an action taken report.