Parliament on Wednesday (February 13) passed a Bill removing leprosy as a ground for divorce under five personal laws including the Hindu Marriage Act.
The Rajya Sabha, on the last day of the Budget session, passed the Bill without debate after consensus on the issue.
The Upper House first passed the Personal Laws Amendment Bill 2018 by voice vote.
THE BILL SEEKING TO REMOVE LEPROSY AS GROUND FOR DIVORCE
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium. The disease affects especially the skin and peripheral nerves.
It is characterised by the formation of nodules or macules that enlarge and spread accompanied by loss of sensation with eventual paralysis, wasting of muscle, and production of deformities.
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is transmitted when someone who has the disease coughs or sneezes.
Though leprosy is curable if detected early and treated, it can cause progressive and permanent damage if left untreated, leading to disfigurement, blindness and chronic wounds.
Public stigma is among the barriers to early diagnosis, as are other “discriminatory factors” such as gender, age, race and increased vulnerability due to disability, social exclusion or even migration.