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Vidhi Centre For Legal Policy vs Union Of India on 11 January, 2018

WP(C) 1151/2017
1

ITEM NO.77 COURT NO.1 SECTION PIL-W

S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Writ Petition (Civil) No.1151/2017

VIDHI CENTRE FOR LEGAL POLICY Petitioner(s)

VERSUS

UNION OF INDIA ORS. Respondent(s)

Date : 11-01-2018 This petition was called on for hearing today.

CORAM :
HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE A.M. KHANWILKAR
HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE D.Y. CHANDRACHUD

For Petitioner(s) Ms. Pallavi Mohan, Adv.
Ms. Rashmi Nandakumar, AOR

For Respondent(s) Ms. Pinky Anand, ASG
Ms. V. Mohana, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Sayooj Mohandas M., Adv.
Ms. Saudamini Sharma, Adv.
Mr. M.K. Maroria, Adv.

Mr. Sanjai Kumar Pathak, AOR
Mr. Arvind Kumar Tripathi, Adv.
Mr. Akhilendra Singh, Adv.

Mr. K. V. Vijayakumar, AOR
Ms. Maitreyee Mishra, Adv.

Mr. Yashvardhan, Adv.
Mr. Jagjit Singh Chhabra, AOR
Mr. Ambuj Dixit, Adv.
Mr. Saksham Maheshwari, Adv.

Signature Not Verified
Mr. Varinder Kumar Sharma, AOR
Digitally signed by
CHETAN KUMAR
Date: 2018.01.11
Ms. Suman Rani, Adv.
20:34:04 IST
Reason:

Dr. Monika Gusain, Adv.
Mr. Ram Kumar Tripathi, Adv.
WP(C) 1151/2017
2

Mr. Shuvodeep Roy, Adv.
Mr. Sayooj Mohandas M., Adv.

UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
O R D E R

Heard Ms. Pallavi Mohan, learned counsel for the
petitioner.

While issuing notice on 4th December, 2017, we had
noted thus:-

“Heard Mr. Raju Ramachandran, learned senior
counsel for the petitioner.

The instant petition preferred under
Article 32 of the Constitution of India, on a
first look, seems quite ambitious and technically
not sound because the petitioner has not only
prayed for declaring certain Central enactments
as unconstitutional but also many State
legislations. However, we do not intend to be
totally guided by the technicalities or whatever
is being suggested in the petition.

The seminal issue that has been highlighted
in the petition is that in the second decade of
21st Century, there is no justification to treat
a person suffering from leprosy as a person who
is to be kept away from the mainstream of life
and suffer the agony on the age-old beliefs that
the disease is a sin or for that matter, is
infectious or something to do it genetics. With
the discovery of modern medicines, the disease
has become absolutely curable and, therefore, the
steps are required to be taken to cure them and
bring them in the society and not to keep them
away in the leprosy homes where they feel
different and sometimes alien.

Issue notice, fixing a returnable date
within eight weeks. Dasti, in addition, is
permitted.”

There is no quarrel over the fact that there are
Central Acts and the State laws which treat the persons
suffering from leprosy, which is presently a curable disease,
WP(C) 1151/2017
3

differently.

Awaiting service return from the States, the learned
counsel for the petitioner would submit that there should be
advertence to the Central Acts first. She has given a list
of Central Acts, which are also brought on record. They
reflect discrimination. The said Acts are:-

1. Visva Bharati Act, 1951

2. Pondicherry University Act, 1985

3. University of Hyderabad Act, 1974

4. North-Eastern Hill University Act, 1973

5. Jawahar Lal Nehru University Act, 1966

6. Banaras Hindu University Act, 1915

7. Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957

8. Chennai Metro Railway (Carriage and Ticket) Rules, 2014

9. Metro Railways (Carriage and Ticket) Rules, 2014

10. Bangalore Metro Railway (Carriage and Ticket) Rules, 2011

11. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956

12. Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

13. Special Marriage Act, 1954

14. Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939

Ms. Pinky Anand, learned Additional Solicitor
General appearing for the Union of India would submit that
she has instructions to state that wherever there will be any
provision which can be viewed as discriminatory or
prejudicial to the persons suffering from leprosy, that
shall be adequately dealt with. When she says that adequately
dealt with, she means, as we have been apprised,
corrective/remedial measures shall be taken.
WP(C) 1151/2017
4

At this juncture, we can only say that the
legislations when came into force, the disease was viewed in
a different manner, possibly without any cure, but today when
the advancement of science has taken place and there is a
cure for the same, corrective steps are imperative. And we
are sure that the apposite steps shall be taken. If there
will be any other law containing similar provision, that
shall also be looked into.

In view of the aforesaid statement made by the
learned Additional Solicitor General, we would like to give
her some time to file a reply about the progress made in this
regard. For the moment, we do not intend to say any further.

In the meantime, all the State Governments are
directed to look into their legislations and carry out
similar exercises so that there will be no such
discrimination.

At this juncture, learned counsel for the petitioner
undertakes to serve a copy of the order passed today on the
Standing Counsel for the respective States and the Union
Territories. The Registry is directed to send a copy of the
order passed today to the Chief Secretaries of each of the
States.

List the matter on 12th March, 2018.

(Chetan Kumar) (H.S. Parasher)
Court Master Assistant Registrar

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