A bench of justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit, which had earlier issued notices in the matter, expressed displeasure when the counsel for the Centre and some state governments sought time to file their responses.

"We have granted four weeks time. This is a case which should have been taken on priority basis. Leprosy, as on today, is curable and yet because of apathy shown by the authorities concerned, it still remains as a stigma," the court said.
    
It asked the Centre and others to file their replies within four weeks, saying "no further adjournments will be granted in the case."
    
Earlier, the court had expressed concern over prevalence of the disease and had issued notices to the Centre and the States on the PIL filed by lawyer Pankaj Sinha. The plea alleged that leprosy affects over 1.25 lakh people annually in the country.
    
Sinha alleged that governments have failed to eliminate the disease despite medical treatment available since 1981. "Despite an effective cure, namely Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT), which has been available since 1981, that can completely cure 99 percent of leprosy bacteria, due to apathy of the Government of India and the State Governments, people are still suffering from the said disease, which is treated as a social stigma," the petition said.
       
The plea has sought a direction to the governments that drugs be made available at primary health centres in the country. It also pleaded that appropriate scheme be formulated to bring people suffering from leprosy into national mainstream.

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