February 26, 2019

Leprosy no longer a ground for divorce: Centre


The Supreme Court had issued a direction to the Union and State Governments to take necessary steps for rehabilitation and integration of leprosy affected persons into the mainstream including the steps to repeal the provisions where leprosy has been treated as a stigmatic disability. In this regard, the National Human Rights Commission had also recommended amendments in personal laws. Ministry of Law & Justice by its notification dt. 21.2.2019 has amended the Personal Laws (amendment) Act, 2019 which further amends the S. 10 of Divorce Act, 1869, S. 2 of Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, Section 27 of Special Marriage Act, 1954, S. 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and S. 18 of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 specifically by omitting the provisions dealing with discrimination towards leprosy affected persons. Earlier to the amendment, all these Acts contained leprosy as a ground for seeking divorce.

There have been several actions carried out by the Government in this regard. On India signing and ratifying the 2010 UN resolution ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’, the 20th Law Commission of India in its 256th Report ‘Eliminating Discrimination Against Persons Affected by Leprosy’ had recommended to removing provisions relating to discrimination of persons suffering from leprosy.

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