Kathmandu, March 31:

The Supreme Court today issued show cause notices to publishers of several Nepali dictionaries and the government authorities demanding their explanation on why they have been defining leprosy as an incurable disease.

A public interest litigation, claiming that the dictionaries were misinforming people on leprosy patients by defining leprosy as an incurable disease, has sought the SC order to effect change in this definition. The Brihat Sabdakosh of Royal Nepal Academy, Hitaishi Nepali Sabdakosh of Chakrapari Smarak Samiti, Nepal Sabda Sagar of Bhasha Pustak Bhandar, English-Nepali Kosh of Nepal Bhasha Prakashani Samiti, Ratna Nepali Sabdakosh of Ratna Pustak Bhandar, and Nepali Sabda Sagar of Shyam Pustakbhandar besides the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Nepal Leprosy Control Division have been made defendants in the case.

The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines leprosy as a contagious disease that affects the skin, mucous membranes, and nerves, causing discolouration and lumps on the skin and, in severe cases, disfigurement and deformities. Leprosy, also called Hansen’s Disease is mainly confined to tropical Africa and Asia. Acting on the petition filed by Sobhakar Kandel, Executive Officer of Anandaban Leprosy Hospital, a single bench of justice Sharada Prasad Pundit today issued the show cause notices to the defendants ordering them to submit written explanation within 15 days.

Kandel told this daily that some one lakh leprosy patients have been treated and the government plans to eliminate leprosy soon.