Frame scheme for rehabilitation of leprosy patients, SC asks Centre and State

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court issued a slew of directions to end the stigma and discrimination of leprosy patients, expressing serious concern over the discrimination being meted out to leprosy patients, the Supreme Court Friday directed the Centre to consider framing separate rules for granting disability certificates to leprosy patients for availing reservation and various welfare benefits.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud has directed the States and Union Territories to undertake massive awareness programs on the curability of leprosy. The apex court said that acceptability of leprosy patients in the society would go a long way in reducing the stigma attached to the disease and passed a slew of directions to the Centre and the state governments for launching massive awareness programmes.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Pankaj Sinha alleging that the government was not taking adequate steps to eradicate the disease. The bench said awareness should be spread about the free availability of MDT at all government healthcare facilities in the country.

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