New Delhi (Sputnik) – India's apex court has asked the union and the state governments to give their respective views on why should the archaic laws that contribute to the stigmatization of Leprosy be retained. The Supreme Court of India was acting on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocacy organization Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
"From disallowing a leprosy-affected person from fighting a local body election to the dissolution of marriage, these archaic laws sanctions isolation of those afflicted with the disease. It even can allow a person to be debarred from an educational institution. We are glad that the Supreme Court has taken a view on these laws and have asked the Centre and States to respond," Dhvani Mehta, Senior Resident Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy told Sputnik.
Organizations fighting the discrimination against leprosy patients in India have welcomed the court's intervention but are still concerned about the fact that social stigmatization is beyond the purview of the law.
"We are happy that the apex court has intervened on this matter. Now the concern is that legally it may be fine but social discrimination shall continue for many don't know that the condition is curable. India has around 70 percent of the global leprosy problem but the response is not proportional to it," Nikita Sara, head of advocacy and communication at The Leprosy Mission told Sputnik.