21st Century India Can’t Dismiss Leprosy Patients Says SC

The court has directed the Centre to repeal all the 119 laws that discriminate against persons with leprosy.

1 min read
Leprosy may have faded from public consciousness, but it still cripples more than one lakh Indians annually. 

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipal Mishra directed the centre to strike down 119 legislations that are discriminatory to people suffering from leprosy.

The bench was acting on a PIL filed by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy that urged for the recognition of fundamental right to equality, dignity and equality of people affected by leprosy.

Appearing for the petition, Senior Advocate Raju Rakmachandran submitted the 119 statutes discriminatory to leprosy-afflicted patients, some of which included the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation Act of 1981, Puducherry Municipalities Act, Kerala Khadi and Village Industries Board Act of 1957, Andhra Pradesh Public Libraries Act of 1969, etc which bans membership to leprosy patients, The Hindu reported.


During the hearing, Justice Dipak Misra remarked that in the 21st century there can be no justification for discriminating against persons afflicted with leprosy.

We are in the third decade of 21st century, there is no justification to treat a person suffering from leprosy as a man to be kept away from mainstream. This unequal treatment irrationally treats persons affected by leprosy as a separate class on the basis of a medically inaccurate and outdated conception,” Live Law reported Justice Misra as saying.

The court has asked the Centre to respond in eight weeks to repeal all the 119 laws.

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