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LS passes a Bill to remove Leprosy as ground for dissolution of marriage

This Bill not only aims to remove discrimination and stigma attached to patients battling with leprosy, but also tries to integrate people suffering from leprosy into the mainstream.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 7 Jan 2019 12:22 PM GMT

LS passes a Bill to remove Leprosy as ground for dissolution of marriage
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LS passes a Bill to remove Leprosy as ground for dissolution of marriage
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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha passed The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, here on Monday striking out leprosy as a ground for seeking a divorce.

Prior to this landmark decision, people affected by leprosy were equated with those experiencing mental illness under several Marriage Acts and the Indian Divorce Act.

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This Bill not only aims to remove discrimination and stigma attached to patients battling with leprosy, but also tries to integrate people suffering from leprosy into the mainstream.

By eliminating leprosy as a ground for dissolution of marriage or divorce, it will end the discrimination against leprosy persons in various central laws: the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939; The Divorce Act, 1869; the Special Marriage Act, 1954; the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956.

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Even as most of the MPs were in favour of the Bill to be passed, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President, Asaduddin Owaisi opposed it by saying that if anyone dissembles a disease like leprosy, it is a case of fraud in a contract of marriage. Hence, it should remain a ground for divorce.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae also known as Hansen's bacillus spirilly, usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves.

According to WHO, leprosy affected 2,12,000 people globally in 2015. India alone reported 1,27,326 new cases, accounting for 60% of new cases globally.

The Lok Sabha session on Monday, adjourned till Tuesday after passing the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill.

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Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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