Can there be affirmative law to protect leprosy patients’ rights, SC asks Centre.

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New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre if it favoured a comprehensive law for affirmative action to protect the rights of leprosy patients necessary to remove stigma resulting in their ostracizing from the society.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was told that there were multiple laws addressing different aspects of leprosy-inflicted patients.

The court also said that once such a comprehensive law came in, then the provisions of the existing laws which would be either overlapping or inconsistent with it would cease to operate.

CJI Misra said that there was need to spread awarness that disease is curable and that after treatment, people can be brought back to the mainstream.

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Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that India had the highest — 52 lakh leprosy patients — with another 1.25 lakh added to it every year.

The court was told that some form of leprosy was contagious.

The lawyer appearing for the petitioner organization Vidhi Centre of Legal Aid urged the court that till Centre moves to enact a comprehensive law, the court should issue a direction.

Adjourning the matter for Centre’s response, the court sought suggestions from both the sides for issuing directions.

–IANS

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