New Delhi, Jan 7: "Leprosy is being removed as a ground for divorce as it is now a curable disease as against the earlier notion of it being incurable," Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary while replying to a discussion on 'The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
After Minister of State for Law PP Choudhury responded to other MPs after they made their statements, amendments to the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, were passed in Lok Sabha.
The bill seeks to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce in five personal laws -- Hindu Marriage Act, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, Divorce Act (for Christians), Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.
The bill was passed by a voice vote amid din as Congress and SP members protested over Rafale and CBI issue respectively.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had also asked the Centre and the state governments to take steps for rehabilitation and integration of leprosy-affected people into the mainstream.
Besides, India is a signatory to a UN Resolution which calls for an elimination of discrimination against persons suffering from leprosy.
“Leprosy as a ground for divorce is a "discriminatory" provision. The Human Rights Commission and judgements of various courts had also underlined the need to amend the laws to remove this discrimination.” Said Chaudhari.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution on the ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’, which was signed and ratified by India. Subsequently, the Law Commission of India in its 256th Report recommended the elimination of discrimination against people affected by the disease.
More recently, the Supreme Court issued a slew of directions to the Central and State governments in order to spread awareness about leprosy and to facilitate a life of equality and dignity for those affected by the disease.