The Lok Sabha on 7th January 2019 passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018, which aims to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce. Leprosy is being removed as a ground for divorce as it is now a curable disease as against the earlier notion of it being incurable.
The Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018 aims to amend five personal laws- the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939, Divorce Act (for Christians) 1869, Special Marriage Act 1954 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956- to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce.
The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2018. The bill was introduced as various recommendations were made to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce. Some of the recommendations are:
The Law Commission in its 256th report had recommended repeal of laws and provisions which were discriminatory against leprosy-affected people.
India is a signatory to a UN Resolution which calls for the elimination of discrimination against persons suffering from leprosy. Leprosy as a ground for divorce was contradicting to the resolution.
In 2014, Even the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the state governments to take steps for rehabilitation and integration of leprosy-affected people into the mainstream.
The National Human Rights Commission had long made a proposal for the government in this regard.