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Insurance policy clauses excluding genetic disorders are unconstitutional, rules Delhi High Court

Justice Pratibha M Singh said there is an urgent need to frame guidelines to prevent such discrimination.

The Delhi High Court on Monday ruled that clauses in insurance policies that exclude genetic disorders are ambiguous and violate Article 14 of the Constitution, which says citizens will be treated equally before law, Bar and Bench reported.

The right to health insurance is an integral part of the right to health and healthcare as recognised by Article 21, Justice Pratibha M Singh said, while hearing a petition filed by Jai Prakash Tayal against United India Insurance.

The judge observed that several medical conditions that affect a large number of people, including cardiac conditions, high blood pressure, and diabetes, could be categorised as genetic disorders, Live Law reported. “The broad exclusion of genetic disorders from insurance contracts or claims is illegal and unconstitutional,” Justice Singh said.

The judge said the exclusion of genetic disorders is not merely a contractual issue between the insurance company and the insured, but “spills into the broader canvas of Right to Health”. “There appears to be an urgent need to frame a proper framework to prevent against genetic discrimination as also to protect collection, preservation and confidentiality of genetic data,” she added.

Singh ordered the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority to take a look at exclusionary clauses in insurance contracts, and ensure that the companies do not reject the claims of those who suffer from genetic diseases.

United India Insurance had challenged a lower court’s order in favour of Tayal, whose insurance claim was rejected as he suffers from Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy, a disease that results in abnormal thickening of the muscular tissue of the heart.

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