Showing posts with label discrimination on the basis of medical condition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label discrimination on the basis of medical condition. Show all posts

Monday, May 2, 2016

Private Insurance Contracts can't override fundamental rights of equality & health through exclusion clauses

Dear Colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier blog entry titled "Extra Premium or reduced insurance amount, both discriminatory against employees with disabilities- Delhi HC" wherein the Hon'ble Delhi High Court had categorically come to a conclusion that charging extra premium from employees with disabilities was indeed a discrimination on the basis of disability and the court in its remarkable judgement directed the postal life insurance to provide equal insurance coverage and not charge extra premium from the employees with disabilities.

I had called that judgement  a milestone in the disability rights movement with far reaching implications not only in India but also beyond India and especially in European countries where the actuaries continue to discriminate against persons with disabilities by under-valuing their lives. 

In the instant case, the plaintiff  Jai Prakash Tayal, holding a mediclaim policy had filed a suit seeking payment of Rs. 5 lakh spent on his treatment while the Insurance firm had denied mediclaim saying “genetic disease is not payable as per policy genetic exclusion clauses".

The trial court presided by Hon'ble Additional District Judge, Delhi Dr. (Ms.) Kamini Lau lambasted the United India Insurance Company, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of Govt. of India, for rejecting the mediclaim of a person for heart ailment on the ground of genetic disease exclusion clause. 
News Clipping from Times of India Delhi Edition 02 May 2016

Adding that the clause was "arbitrary , discriminatory and unfair" the Judge said, “I hold that a genetic disease exclusion clause in a mediclaim insurance policy, which totally excludes the grant of insurance in case of genetic diseases, is liable to be struck down being violative of the constitutional mandate, the fundamental underlying constitutional scheme, policy of the state and public good.

The plaintiff had told the court that he had already taken two claims for the same treatment and, therefore, a third claim for the same disease was not liable to be rejected. The court ruled in favour of the plaintiff and said he was entitled to the amount. It observed that a person suffering from a genetic disease is as much in need of a medical insurance cover as others and in fact the liability qua them is more.

“No person can be discriminated or deprived of state protection in case of an ailment, be it genetic or acquired. The courts of law are required to interpret the provisions of the private contracts in the light of these constitutional obligations,“ the court said.

The court held that good health is not a privilege but a justiciable fundamental right and lamented that healthcare finances have a poor record as only 4% of the national budget is spent on it. “The time has come that India catches up with this alternative model of allocating resources and funding to its public health programmes,“ the judge said. 

Related News from Times of India :  Court pulls up insurer, cites right to health







Monday, June 29, 2015

A person with 71% physical disability can't study Medicine - says MCI's resolution!

Dear Colleagues,

The resolution of Medical Council of India  that the disability must be between 40 per cent and 70 per cent to be eligible for admission and for seeking a seat reserved for candidates with physical disability itself is faulty. The degree of disability is a medical model and can not be a conclusive reason to declare what a person with disabilities can do or not do. Then we have highly subjective disability evaluation system wherein two different doctors give different grading of disability to the same person. A person with 71% will thus be technically outrightly rejected for the wrong assessment due to subjectivities involved.

Hon'ble High Court may have given the benefit to the petitioner in the instant case, however, technically even the bench is not competent to decide on the degree of disability, unless doubting the State Medical Board's assessment, it ordered for re-constitution of Medical Board which gave an otherwise recommendation on it. 

At the most, the bench could have expressed its opinion on the discernible abilities of the petitioner observed by them and ordered accordingly. I feel, getting in to guess work of percentage of disabilities is like falling in to the trap of 40-70 percentage set out by the improper and unreasonable resolution of the MCI which is not supported by the disability legislation in the country. This classification has been created by MCI of its own which doesn't stand the test of law.

Here is the news coverage:

Reconsider admission of physically disabled student: HC

A special medical board set up by the state government had found the student unfit for health science courses and ineligible for a seat under the physically disabled quota as his disabilities stood at 88 per cent.

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | Mumbai | Published on:June 26, 2015 2:50 am

Noting the movements of a physically disabled student inside the courtroom, the Bombay High Court has directed the state government to consider his admission in the first of year MBBS course. The student was earlier denied admission under the physically handicapped quota.

“He (petitioner) has been walking with braces and having seen his physical movements in the court room, we are of the view that his disability cannot be assessed as 88 per cent. His case should be considered for admission to the first year MBBS course on the basis that his disability is between 50 per cent and 70 per cent ,” said Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A K Menon.

Earlier, a special medical board set up by the state government had found the student unfit for health science courses and ineligible for a seat under the physically disabled quota as his disabilities stood at 88 per cent. While under the Medical Council of India resolution, the disability must be between 40 per cent and 70 per cent to be eligible for admission and for seeking a seat reserved for candidates with physical disability.

The HC, however, directed the state government to consider his case on the basis of his marks obtained by him in the common entrance, MH-CET, 2015, for admission to first MBBS course in a seat reserved for physically handicapped.

The student had sought admission to the first year MBBS course in the Government Medical College in a seat reserved for physically handicapped on the ground that his disability is between 50 percent and 70 percent.

He was born on March 18, 1996 and had been suffering from congenital disability involving both the lower limbs due to Bilateral Congenital Dislocation (CHD) of hip and Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTEV).
From 1996 to 2004, his father who is a doctor, provided him with treatment and care, including multiple surgeries and physiotherapy.

The boy underwent five surgeries on the deformities and the correction was carried out to the extent that there is no more dislocation of the hip joint.

There were, however, restrictions to the hip joint while doing physical activities of the lower limb. Pooja Thorat, the petitioner’s lawyer, informed the court that the special medical board has examined him without wearing braces. “He, infact, was wearing braces even while studying in school and was himself commuting from his residence to the school,” the lawyer had submitted.



Friday, September 6, 2013

HIV no ground fordiscrimination in right to work


Pune, September 6, 2013
Amruta Byatnal

A year after a HIV-positive bus-driver was sacked by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, the Bombay High Court has given him his job back. Reacting to the verdict, 43-year-old Ramesh Bhamre (name changed) said, “I am happy that I can get my job back now. I wish others don’t have to go through the trauma that I did to get my basic rights.”

The Hindu had reported the stigma faced by the driver in June 2012. (http://bit.do/driver).

Ramesh Bhamre was sacked by the MSRTC in May 2012 on the grounds that he was “unfit to work”. Bhamre, who had been working as a driver since 1999, had told the MSRTC that owing to the treatment he was receiving, he was physically weak. He had requested “light work” rather than being asked to drive heavy vehicles. Stating that there was no legal provision for changing the job profile of HIV-positive employees, the transport authority had removed him from service. But, Bhamre decided to fight the stigma, accusing the MSRTC of discriminating against him because of he was HIV-positive.

Declaring that every citizen had the right to work and could not be discriminated against, a Bombay High Court Bench consisting of Justice Abhay Oak and Revati Mohite-Dhere stated that Bhamre should be reinstated within a week. The Bench also ruled that the State Transport Authority was liable to provide him compensation for the year he spent out of work.

As he stood in front of journalists on Thursday afternoon, Bhamre was initially at a loss for words. He discovered he was HIV-positive in 2008 and it had been, he said, one long struggle since. Dealing with the stigma had, he said, worn him out. His teenage son was forced to take up work in a factory to make ends meet, he said. “My wife and two sons struggled as I watched helplessly,” he said.

Human rights lawyer Asim Sarode, who represented Bhamre, said: “This case will act as a positive precedent for many others in the State, who face similar struggles.” Bhamre’s case was fought on the basic premise of the rights given by the Constitution, Mr. Sarode stated.

Source: The Hindu