Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018, which aims to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce from various Acts governing marriage in India.
Leprosy currently affects approximately a quarter of a million people throughout the world, with majority of these cases being reported from India.In 2016, according to government estimates, over 1.3 lakh cases of leprosy were detected.A survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research between 2008 and 2011 discovered as many as 250,000 new cases of leprosy in India each year.
Key Facts of the Bill:
- 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, has sought to amend five Acts — the Divorce Act, 1869, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 — on provisions related marriage, divorce, and separation of Hindu and Muslim couples.
- Each of these Acts prescribe leprosy as a ground for seeking divorce or separation from the spouse.
- Discriminating against such people is violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
- Under Section 18 (2) (c) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, that a Hindu wife is entitled to live separately from her husband without forfeiting her claim to maintenance if the latter is “suffering from a virulent form of leprosy”, has been omitted.
- The Bill is meant to provide for the integration of leprosy patients into the mainstream.
- It is in keeping with the UN General Assembly Resolution of 2010 on the ‘Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members’ that it was introduced. India has signed and ratified the Resolution.
- The Bill follows a National Human Rights Commission recommendation a decade ago to introduce amendments in personal laws and other statutes.