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
- The Lok Sabha on has passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018, which seeks removal of leprosy as a ground for divorce.
- 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.
- 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?
- The medical advances made in the field have making leprosy curable with multi-drug therapy.
- Leprosy patients were isolated and segregated from society as the leprosy was not curable and the society was hostile to them.
- 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.
- 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
- 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’
- India has signed and ratified the Resolution
- Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae.
- The exact mechanism of transmission of leprosy is not known.
- The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes.
- Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age.
- Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities.