CABINET CLEARS BILL TO REMOVE LEPROSY AS GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
The Union Cabinet has cleared the Personal Laws (amendment) Bill that aims to strike down leprosy as a ground for a divorce by making amendments in five laws — the Divorce Act (for Christians), the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.
Even though, India is a signatory to a UN resolution which calls for elimination of discrimination against people suffering from leprosy, yet under the provision of Indian Divorce Act, leprosy is a legitimate ground for divorce.
The Law Commision, in April 2015, submitted a report along with a draft bill that recommended repeal of the Lepers Act, 1898. The draft bill sought repeal of the provision that a leprosy-affected person can not contest election. It also urged that they be provided with the land rights and other special privileges similar to those awarded to SC/ST for their upliftment.