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 issued a slew of directions to the Centre and all states for eradication of leprosy and rehabilitation of those suffering from it. "Medical staff in private and government hospitals be sensitised to ensure that leprosy patients do not face discrimination," the bench said. The apex court further said that awareness campaign should be launched so that leprosy patients are not isolated and allowed to lead a normal married life.
The court also asked the Centre and states to frame rules that public and private schools do not discriminate against children from leprosy affected families. The apex court had on July 5 directed the Centre to file a comprehensive action plan to ensure eradication of leprosy from the country, saying the "curable" disease cannot be allowed to affect the people. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Pankaj Sinha alleging that the government was not taking adequate steps to eradicate the disease. Earlier, the court had also rapped the authorities for their "apathy" towards eradicating leprosy from the country, saying despite it being "curable", the disease still remained a stigma.