Thiruvananthapuram: Restrictions on leprosy patients to appear in public places, using public transportation and going to educational institutions will be lifted soon. The law reforms commission has directed the government to reform three acts and four rules in the state for this purpose.

The Supreme Court had asked all states to review the state laws that discriminate leprosy patients. The apex court has also asked the state governments to inform about further actions they have taken in the issue.

The government is planning to put three draft bills that needs amendment in the assembly. The government can directly amend the rules that require to be reviewed. Though leprosy was declared to have been eradicated from the country in 2005, there were restrictions for the patients.

Presently existing restrictions

  • Restriction for using public places.
  • Restriction for using public transportation systems.
  • If a public transportation system is used with the knowledge of the owner or employees, the vehicle need to be sterilized as early as possible.
  • Restriction for going to schools and colleges and using public resorts.
  • Restriction for using books and newspapers in libraries.
  • Restriction for working as document writer (aadharam writer).
  • Ineligibility for patients to take membership in nursing council and contest to Khadi and Village Industries Board and Fishermen Welfare Society.

Acts and rules to be amended

  • Kerala Khadi and Village Industries Board Act, 1957
  • Travancore-Cochin Nurses and Midwives Act, 1953
  • Travancore-Cochin Public Health Act, 1955
  • Kerala Places of Public Resort Rules, 1965
  • Kerala Habitual Offenders Act, 1960
  • Kerala Fisherman's Welfare Societies Act, 1980
  • Kerala Document Writer's Licence Rules, 1960

Law Reforms Commission member Dr. N. K. Jayakumar said that the discrimination against leprosy patients is groundless, when modern medical care and the present condition of the diseases are considered. The further actions are expected to put an end to the discrimination and ineligibility with legal support, he added.