NEW DELHI: With an aim to end the discrimination against Leprosy patients, the Supreme Court on Thursday passed a slew of directions aimed at their rehabilitation and integration into society.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed, "Persons suffering from leprosy also have the right to live with human dignity." The bench passed a slew of directions asking the Health Department of the Centre, states and UTs to carry out awareness campaign at the grassroots level to put an end to discrimination of persons suffering from leprosy.
"Specific programmes be broadcast or telecast on All India Radio and Delhi Doordarshan at central and state level regional channels at prime time for educating people about the disease, such as it is not a communicable disease," it said.
The bench directed its registry to send its order to all chief secretaries of states through e-mails and speed post for compliance and slated the PIL filed by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy for further hearing on August 28.
According to the PIL, there are 119 state and central laws that discriminated against leprosy patients and which stigmatise them. Appearing for Centre, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told the bench that steps were being taken to repeal legal provisions in laws which discriminated against leprosy patients.
There should be specific programmes telecast on All India Radio and Doordarshan on National and regional channels for educating people about the fact that Leprosy is not a communicable disease. The programme should be telecast during primetime
- Hospitals should not decline to treat persons suffering from Leprosy.
- Centre and States shall take steps to rehabilitate Leprosy patients and to bring them to the mainstream.
- It is the duty of the Centre and States to ensure that Leprosy patients do not suffer from any stigma.