New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Amid the raging debate over the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who was allegedly depressed before his apparent suicide on June 14, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on a PIL seeking direction to all insurance companies to extend medical insurance for treatment of mental illness.
A bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Navin Sinha and B.R. Gavai issued the notice.
The PIL, filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, argues that despite Section 21 of Mental Health Care Act 2017, specifically stating it, followed by an IRDA order in August 2018, none of the insurance companies are extending medical insurance for treatment of mental illness. The petitioner has urged the apex court to direct the Centre, and the IRDA to issue directions to all insurance companies to do so.
The petitioner argued that the IRDA was formed with a mission to protect the interests of the policy-holders, but, it seems to have been diverted from its main motive.
“Despite having specific provisions under the law, the IRDA is reluctant in taking immediate action. The biasness 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 for not complying with MHA 2017, the IRDA is bypassing its responsibilities,” said the plea.
The petitioner argued that “inaction of the IRDA is also hampering the rehabilitation process of thousands of persons with mental illness. The petition contended that due to the discrimination at the hands of the IRDA, thousands of persons who are fit for discharge, but are languishing in mental hospitals, have been deprived of getting health insurance schemes, which ultimately will harm their path of rehabilitation.
The petitioner urged the apex court to issue direction to IRDA to implement Section 21 (4) of the Mental Healthcare Act, and also submit an action taken report on the issue.