In court

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Discriminatory disease: A leprosy patient cannot contest a civic poll or hold the post of a councillor or chairperson of a municipality, the Supreme Court ruled on September 19. This comes in the wake of patient Dhirendra Pandua challenging his disqualification from the post of councillor and chairperson in Balasore municipality. After winning the elections held on September 19, 2003, he was elected as chairperson on September 30, 2003. The verdict upheld the decisions of the election tribunal-cum-district judge, Balasore, and the Orissa High Court that upheld the provisions of the Orissa Municipal Act, 1950, disqualifying a leprosy patient from holding such posts.

The apex court noted that neither were the decisions discriminatory nor did they violate the right to equality guaranteed in the Constitution, keeping in mind the danger of the disease being transmitted to other people. The court, however, stated that keeping in view the current research on leprosy, the legislature may seriously consider whether it is still necessary to retain such provisions in the statutes.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.