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Volume 3 Issue 18 - September 15, 2005

Another victim of Hindu Marriage Act’s provision that allows divorce on grounds of leprosy

D.N.I.S. News Network – A 30-year-old woman has been served a legal notice for divorce on the plea that she suffers from leprosy. The incident has once again highlighted the discriminatory provision under the Hindu Marriage Act that allows divorce if a spouse suffers from the disease.

“A white spot which appeared from nowhere on my neck made him (her husband) suspicious,” Smidha was quoted as saying in news daily. “When doctors diagnosed it as leprosy, he started misbehaving with me and sought separation. Unfortunately there is a provision in Hindu Marriage Act, where he can ask for divorce,” she added.

According to the Hindu and Muslim Marriage Acts, leprosy can be a ground for divorce. This goes against the very logic of leprosy-eradication programmes being run by the government, which are spending large sum of money on ending the stigma and prejudice against leprosy patient.

Leprosy, which is completely curable, primarily affects skin, mucous membranes and the peripheral nerves. Even single dose of Multi Drug Therapy (M.D.T.) kills 99.9 per cent leprosy bacilli under laboratory conditions. There is no threat of disease transmission if the patient is taking treatment.

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