Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

Lok Sabha Passes Amendment Bill To Remove Leprosy as Ground For Divorce


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Mains level: Discrimination being faced by leprosy patients in the society & how inaction from the government’s end has helped in increasing its effect


Leprosy: Not a ground for Divorce

  1. The Lok Sabha on has passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018, which seeks removal of leprosy as a ground for divorce.
  2. To this end, it seeks to amend five Acts:
  • the Divorce Act, 1869,
  • the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939,
  • the Special Marriage Act, 1954,
  • the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and
  • the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956.
  1. The Amendment Bill proposes to amend the provisions in these Acts which prescribe leprosy as a ground for divorce or separation from the spouse.

Why such move?

  1. The medical advances made in the field have making leprosy curable with multi-drug therapy.
  2. Leprosy patients were isolated and segregated from society as the leprosy was not curable and the society was hostile to them.
  3. However, as a result of intensive healthcare and availability of modern medicine to cure the disease, the attitude of the society towards them began to change.
  4. The discriminatory provisions contained in various statutes against the persons affected with leprosy were made prior to the medical advancements rendering leprosy a curable disease.

In line with UN resolution

  1. This is in keeping with the UN General Assembly Resolution of 2010 on the ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’
  2. India has signed and ratified the Resolution



  1. Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae.
  2. The exact mechanism of transmission of leprosy is not known.
  3. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes.
  4. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age.
  5. Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities.
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