Union of India on Thursday submitted before the Supreme Court that wherever there will be any provision which can be viewed as discriminatory or prejudicial to the persons suffering from leprosy, corrective/remedial measures shall be taken.
Recording the statement, the Supreme Court then directed all state governments to look into their legislations and carry out corrective/remedial measures so that there will be no such discrimination against persons affected with leprosy.
The 3-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra issued this directive during the hearing on a petition filed by Vidhi Centre of Policy challenging provisions from 119 statutes which discriminate against persons suffering from leprosy.
Last month, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had issued notice to the Centre and states on a PIL filed by Vidhi, seeking a direction to strike down 119 central and state legislation as they are discriminatory to people suffering from leprosy.
During the hearing on Thursday, the counsel for the petitioner submitted before the court that there are mainly 14 Central Acts which reflects discrimination against people suffering from leprosy.
At this juncture, advocate Pinky Anand, Additional Solicitor General, told the court that wherever there will be any provision which can be viewed as discriminatory or prejudicial to the persons suffering from leprosy, corrective/remedial measures shall be taken.
Referring to this submission, the bench remarked: “We can only say that the legislations when came into force, the disease was viewed in a different manner, possibly without any cure, but today when the advancement of science has taken place and there is a cure for the same, corrective steps are imperative. And we are sure that the apposite steps shall be taken. If there will be any other law containing similar provision, that shall also be looked into.”
The court said: “In view of the aforesaid statement made by the learned Additional Solicitor General, we would like to give her some time to file a reply about the progress made in this regard. For the moment, we do not intend to say any further.”
Listing the matter on March 12, the court directed the Registry to send a copy of the order passed today to the chief secretaries of each of the states.