SC: Consider framing law to check bias against leprosy patients

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New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to consider framing a law to repeal all state and local laws that discriminate against those suffering from leprosy.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud granted six weeks to the government for taking a decision on the issue.

The bench also asked the Centre to respond on the suggestions given by an NGO to eradicate leprosy and on issues like rehabilitation and curbing discrimination against those affected by the disease.

The bench took into note the suggestions given by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy (VCLP), the NGO which has filed the plea in the top court, on issues including creating awareness, rehabilitation and sensitisation of common public about the disease.

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The reports include suggestions pertaining to “awareness, sensitisation and dissemination of action taken, non-discrimination, pension benefits for persons affected by leprosy, healthcare and rehabilitation, housing assistance, education, employment, livelihood, welfare and language and expression”.

Earlier, the apex court had 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.

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

The court was hearing a PIL by VCLP which has listed 119 state and Central laws that discriminate against leprosy patients and stigmatise them.

The NGO 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.

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