Supreme Court Issues Notice to Union Health Ministry, Says Extend Insurance to Mental Health

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A Writ Petition filed in the Supreme Court was particularly under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. This was to pass mandamus to implement Section 21(4) of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017. Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide initiated the discussion on Mental Illness. Depression and anxiety are a few problems that people face under mental illness.

Facts of the Case

The Petition under Section 21(4) of the Mental Health Care Act,2017 came before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. This states that every insurer is bound to make provisions for the treatment of mental illness in medical insurance. These must be available the same as for the treatment of physical illness.
 
Further, the GM of Health directed the insurance companies to follow Section 21(4) of the Mental Healthcare Act with immediate effect. The direction passed by the General Manager came on the basis of the letter issued by the respondent. The Respondent did not keep an eye on the insurance companies, as stated. He didn’t do any follow up after sending the letter. There was no action against the insurance companies who failed to follow the orders. Thus, the present petition is in the nature of a Public Interest Litigation.
 
The Petitioner had filed Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1496 of 2018. The Hon’ble Court observed that “persons with mental illness are also human beings and their dignity can’t be put at risk.” The petitioner submitted that cause of non-compliance is the “red tape attitude” of the IRDAI. This leads to a lot of trouble for people who are suffering from mental illness.

Court’s Decision

The Bench comprising of Justice Rohinton F Nariman, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice BR Gavai heard the matter. The Bench issued notice to the Union Health Ministry and IRDAI.
Further the hearing is scheduled after two weeks.


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