Rajya Sabha clears law removing leprosy as ground for divorce

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  1. The Parliament has cleared the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The bill aims to remove leprosy- a chronic neuro-muscular disorder- as a ground for divorce.
  2. The bill seeks to amend (a) the Divorce Act, 1869, (b) the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, (c) the Special Marriage Act, 1954, (d) the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and (e) the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. These acts lay down provisions related to marriage, divorce, and separation of Indian citizens of different communities.
  3. The Human Rights Commission, Law commission and judgements of various courts had underlined the need to amend the laws to remove discrimination against persons suffering from leprosy-a disease that is now curable.
  4. The bill is also in line with UN General Assembly Resolution of 2010 on the ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’- a resolution to which India is a signatory.