Remove discriminatory provisions in laws regarding leprosy patients: SC

Remove discriminatory provisions in laws regarding leprosy patients: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre and all state governments to take steps to remove all discriminatory provisions from laws in dealing with leprosy patients.

"Today, with advancement of science and medicines, such steps are imperative," a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

The court accepted submission by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, who said wherever there are provisions in laws which are seen as discriminatory and prejudicial to leprosy patients, those would be adequately dealt with. She said corrective and remedial measures will be undertaken in this regard.

The bench noted that several laws were passed at a time when there was no treatment for leprosy and there was no point in continuing with those statutory provisions.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, an independent think-tank, which had sought direction to repeal as many as 119 central and state laws containing discriminatory provisions. It posted the matter for consideration on March 12 while asking the Centre and all states to report progress in abolishing such provisions.

The petitioner has given a list of such laws, including the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act 1939, Section 27 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, that discriminated against persons suffering from leprosy.

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