When a queer couple in Kolkata filed an RTI request to find out if there is any legal impediment for anyone to make their same-sex partner a candidate in their insurance policies, the Life Insurance Company (LIC) confirmed that sex would not serve as an obstacle. .
The request was made by Suchandra Das and Sree Mukherjee and comes in the light of private and public banks denying same-sex couples to become political candidates, without any legal basis.
“In effect, this means that there is no prohibition on a policyholder appointing a person not related to him by birth, consanguinity, marriage or adoption as his proxy.” Das, who is a professional photographer, told the news agency IANS.
The RBI also weighs: While the couple filed a similar request with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), their statement is as clear as the one submitted by LIC. Addressing the RBI’s response, Das added: “Citing Sections 45ZA to 45ZF of the Banking Regulation Act 1949, which deal with the matter of appointment, the RBI submitted that there is no was no mention of any conditions or restrictions on who can be an applicant So from this answer it is clear that no bank can insist that I can only nominate someone related to me as a candidate.
Calcutta HC offers a catch: However, the Senior Solicitor of the Kolkata High Court mentioned that while there is no legal prohibition for a person to make their same-sex partner the nominee, becoming a nominee does not imply that this candidate would be a successor to the insurance product. or funds in the account.
To further explain, this so-called nominee can only receive the money and is legally bound to hand over the money to the successor of the deceased. In short, an agent is “an agent of the policyholder”.
Judge Ajay Kumar Gupta, however, explains how there are legal ways to turn such a candidate into the fund’s successor. “In this case, the policy holder or bank account holder will be required to bequeath these funds by executing a registered will and thereby making the designated also the successor,”
Will other insurance companies follow? While sharing the news, writer and human rights activist Sharif Rangnekar tagged the Instagram handles of SBI, Max Life Insurance and Kotak Life Insurance, writing, “I hope other insurance companies will post similar clarifications.”
While LIC’s statement is definitely pivotal, it remains to be seen how practically applicable it would be for same-sex couples to nominate nominees in the policies offered by these companies. Homosexuality could be decriminalized, but given that same-sex marriages also do not enjoy legal status in the country, these joint banking plans come with their own challenges for these couples.