New Delhi, June 16: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the central government and Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) on a plea seeking directions to insurance companies to provide medical insurance coverage for treatment of mental illness.

The plea, filed by an advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, stated that insurance companies are refusing to provide such coverage despite a mandate under the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, The Hindustan Times reported.

Section 21 (4) of the said act states that “every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness”. Based on that provision, the IRDA had issued a circular in August 2018 to the insurance companies to comply with the same but to no avail.

The IRDA, however, has not taken any action against insurance companies for such violation, Bansal pointed out. “The inaction by IRDA is hampering the rehabilitation process of thousands of persons with mental Illness,” the petition said.

A bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman sought response from IRDA and central government.

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