The Centre has again sought more time to amend its postal insurance rules for disabled to bring them at par with the insurance rules of others. A petition was filed in the High Court by one Vikas Gupta, an Assistant Professor in Department of History, Delhi University, who is visually impaired.
The petition said, ‘Rules of the postal insurance for government employees are discriminatory as it gives a cover of Rs five lakh to a normal person, but a handicapped has to pay much more premium and gets an insurance cover of Rs one lakh only.’ Counsel appearing on behalf of Solicitor General (SG) Gopal Subramanium told a bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that the amendments in the postal insurance rules to stop discrimination against the disabled government employees are in the pipeline and will be soon finalised. Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Pankaj Sinha, also a visually impaired, and lawyer Ms Roma Bhagat told the Court that Article 25 E of the United Nations Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) prohibits discrimination in the insurance policy. The High Court had directed the Centre to not only consider to change the rules so that a person with disability is given an equal sum assured for the premium paid but also ascertain that no extra premium has to be shelled out by them.
The Court had also directed the SG to consider the rules again and draft a policy in a manner that it should not be discriminatory and must consider the distinction between various types of disability as well as mortality factor caused by it. ‘The SG had assured the Court that the LIC will consult the Actuaries, who will further consider the amendments and get back to us, but nothing has happened so far,’ Ms Bhagat told UNI. Ms Bhagat also said there is no data to suggest that the disabled are more prone to accidents. ‘So why they have to pay more to get a less insurance cover,’ she added. ‘We are only getting assurances from the Government, but no amendments have been brought about to give relief to the handicapped,’ she rued.