NEW DELHI: A PIL seeking inclusion of people afflicted by HIV and AIDS in life and health insurance policies with all consequential benefits today led the Delhi High Court to seek the government's response on the issue.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Ministry of Health, public sector insurance companies and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) seeking their reply by January 17 next year to the PIL, which also alleges discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHAs).
The court tagged the matter with another similar petition listed for hearing on the same date. The petition by Rajeev Sharma alleges that there was no "effective progress and implementation of any insurance policies for the benefit of PLHAs".
He has contended that the Centre had in 2013 said that by April 1, 2014, insurance cover would be available to all PLHAs, but nothing has happened till date. Sharma also said the IRDA had issued an exposure draft in 2012 instructing insurance companies to include PLHAs under medical insurance cover. In October 2013, IRDA had asked all insurance companies "to put in place, by April 1, 2014, Board approved underwriting policy to include all PLHAs with regard to life and health insurance," the petition stated.
It claimed that 100 lives were lost each day to the diseases due to "unaffordable medical care" and alleged that PLHAs were "being neglected and discriminated against" as not even simple accident benefit cover is provided to them.
It alleged that various government health schemes for the underprivileged and disadvantaged groups of society "make no mention of coverage to PLHAs". Sharma has contended in his plea that the task to include PLHAs in insurance schemes was not impossible as one private insurance firm provides them such cover.