Supreme Court order to provide insurance benefits for disabled people gets a thumbs up
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of India passed an order that insurance policies taken for a disabled person by the parent or guardian must be allowed to mature after 55 years of age of the proposer. Earlier, a disabled person could avail it only after death of parent or guardian. This order has been welcomed by members from the disabled community. But they also hope that it will be rightly implemented.
Disabled people face numerous struggles to get benefits, schemes and insurances. Recently, the Supreme Court of India (SC) passed a judgment in favor disabled people in India. The SC clearly stated that the insurance policy taken for a disabled person by the parent or guardian must be allowed to mature after 55 years of age of the proposer. Till date, the lumpsum payment could be withdrawn only after death of the parent or guardian. Members from the disabled community says that this is indeed a welcome move from the top court.
A welcome move
The bench of Justices AK Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer stated that there might be times when a disabled person needs the payment for their expenses. But the current policy restricts them from getting the amount. The court has asked the central government to look into providing exemptions in tax as well.
For example, where guardian has become very old but is still alive, though he is not able to earn any longer or he may be a person who was in service and has retired from the said service and is not having any source of income. In such cases, it may be difficult for such a parent/guardian to take care of the medical needs of his/her disabled child. – Supreme Court of India
The court further added, “Even when he/she has paid full premium, the handicapped person is not able to receive any annuity only because the parent/guardian of such handicapped person is still alive. There may be many other such situations. However, it is for the Legislature to take care of these aspects and to provide suitable provision by making necessary amendments in Section 80D of the act”.
The court looked into matter after a plea was filed by Ravi Agarwal, who is a disabled person. Reportedly, there has been a rising demand for this plea from the disabled community.
Responses from the disabled community
Disability rights activist Nipun Malhotra is the founder of Nipman Foundation. He says, “Iam happy with this latest order from the Supreme Court. A person with disability has additional costs when compared to a person without a disability. So at times, a lump sum amount can be life-saving experience to them. It is great that they can get the amount when their parents are alive. I hope the court focuses on health insurance of disabled people as well”.
Unni Maxx, a disability rights activist from Kerala says, “This is a great decision from the Supreme Court. Many disabled people are unable to get proper medical treatment due to financial constraints. They are the ones who will benefit the most from this”.
Disability rights activists cheer for this latest order from the top court. But they are also waiting to see if this will be implemented correctly.