Persons suffering from leprosy should be brought to the mainstream and their rehabilitation ensured, the Supreme Court on Monday said and urged the Centre to consider framing a law to stop discrimination against those affected by the disease.
The SC bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra told the Union government to consider setting up a law that would repeal all state laws that discriminate against those suffering from leprosy. Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocate Raju Ramachandran were also asked to give suggestions in this regard.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, told the Misra-headed bench that a legislation was underway.
Meanwhile, the SC bench posted for further hearing on the PIL filed by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy (VCLP) on September 10. VCLP, in its PIL, had listed 119 state and central laws that discriminated against leprosy patients and stigmatised them.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked the Union government, states, and union territories to conduct an awareness campaign on the curability of leprosy to prevent discrimination against those suffering from the disease. The court, in its recommendation to the Centre and states, stated that archaic provisions from 119 statutes which discriminated against and stigmatise those affected by the disease should be done away with.
The Supreme Court also directed that no government hospital should decline treatment to such patients. The court has also asked the Centre and the states to work for the eradication of "curable" leprosy.
(With inputs from agencies)