The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre, insurance regulator IRDAI and several insurance companies on a plea seeking direction to remove congenital anomalies, like external or internal abnormality in the womb, from the list of general exclusions in the health or life insurance policies.
The move came on a petition challenging the "arbitrary" and "illegal" mechanisms adopted by the IRDAI in denying the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) to seek insurance cover for themselves on the ground that their conditions are categorised under the scope of "congenital anomalies", as defined under a July 29, 2016 circular by the regulator.
Congenital anomalies are also known as birth defects and could be caused by single gene defects, chromosomal disorders, multifactorial inheritance, environmental teratogens and micronutrient deficiencies.
The plea filed by Nipun Malhotra, a disability rights activist who suffers from locomotor disability from birth, sought a direction to IRDAI to remove the phrase 'congenital anomalies' from the standardised definition of the 2016 circulars, take a relook at the exclusionary clauses in insurance contracts and ensure that insurance companies do not reject claims on the basis of exclusions related to congenital anomalies.
Malhotra, in his petition filed through advocate Jai Dehadrai, said the net effect of the circular and regulations was that the PwDs find it next to impossible to seek insurance cover, when undergoing any health related complications.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar issued notices to the Centre, Insurance Regulator and Development Authority of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, United India Insurance Company Limited, Oriental Insurance Company Limited, National Insurance Company Limited, The New India Assurance Co. Limited and HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company Limited on the plea.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 5.
The petitioner said he has filed the plea for and on behalf of nearly 5 per cent of the total population of Delhi and many of them are suffering from congenital anomalies and cannot easily approach the high court. It said the plea raises an issue which affects the disabled community both within Delhi and the country.
He said it gives an indication to insurance companies that the regulator has permitted exclusions and has encouraged and perpetuated such a discrimination, asserting that there was an urgent need for IRDAI to take steps to include PwD's and persons with congenital anomalies within the ambit of insurance laws.
He also sought direction to two insurance companies to provide insurance cover to him and compensate him with Rs one crore for the pain and humiliation which he was made to undergo.
The plea also sought direction to the six insurance firms to deposit Rs 10 crore in the Trust Fund for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)