IEA and Hindu Marriage Act
The Indian Epilepsy Association (IEA) was formed with nine members of the first governing council. These members registered the IEA in 1970. The IEA was registered in December 1971 as a Public Charity Trust with a mission to increase epilepsy awareness and also increase acceptance of PWE to provide relief and rehabilitation to patients and their families. It started with 16 chapters and has 25 chapters today all over India, with a total membership of 1597. The main functions of IEA are counseling of PWE and enhancing public awareness about epilepsy, reaching out to the poor and illiterate PWE for better quality of life. It creates awareness among doctors, paramedics, and lay public, and publishes newsletters. It has also fought legal battles to change the policies like Hindu Marriage Act of 1955. This along with the Special Marriage Act of 1954 stated that a marriage under these acts can be solemnized “if at the time of marriage, neither party suffers from recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy.” It took 12 years for Dr. K. S. Mani, often referred as “father of Indian epilepsy,” and the IEA to have the word “epilepsy” deleted from this law. This was achieved in December 1999.