SC asks Centre, states to eradicate leprosy, remove discriminatory laws
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central and state governments to work for eradication of curable leprosy, and remove provisions from laws that discriminate against and stigmatise those affected from the disease.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said asked the states to file a report, along with compliance affidavit, in six weeks on details about the steps taken to remove objectionable provisions from various statutes which discriminated against the persons suffering from the disease.
"The Centre and states shall rise to the occasion and act to eradicate the disease. Leprosy is a curable disease in the obtaining circumstances," said the bench.
The apex court's direction came after taking into considerations the submission of Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand who submitted that Central government was taking steps to ensure deletion of certain provisions from a number of enactments as these cast "stigma" on persons suffering from leprosy.
The court was hearing a PIL by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy (VCLP) which has listed 119 state and central laws that discriminate against leprosy patients and stigmatise them.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for VCLP, had said these provisions in the central and state laws discriminate against the persons suffering from leprosy and also violated the fundamental rights of persons affected by leprosy under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
He had added that these provisions deny them equal treatment under personal laws, in matters of employment and appointment or election to public office, as well as access to and free movement in public places.