New Delhi: The Delhi High Court issued notices to the Central Government, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on a petition filed to cover HIV/AIDS patients under health insurance policies. The court asked them to file their replies within four weeks.

The petition filed by advocate Tariq Adib on behalf of Dr Rajiv Sharma questioned that when Indian Constitution guarantees Right to Equality to all then how can insurance companies discriminate people on the basis of a disease.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked the IRDA to reply by July 27.

“The practice of the insurance sector of excluding people living with HIV/AIDS from health insurance benefits is arbitrary, discriminatory and makes it harder for such people to access the requisite treatment,” the petition said.

“It is a common practice for insurance companies to deny people that have already been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS entitlement to an insurance policy,” the petition added.

The petition also claimed that 15 out of 24 insurance companies listed under the IRDA Act do not give health insurance benefits to HIV/AIDS patients and currently only one company is providing health insurance.