New Delhi: The Centre on Monday (November 7), informed the Supreme Court that a draft national policy for the distribution of sanitary napkins for school girls has been formulated and the policy is being circulated to get opinions from stakeholders. Appearing for the Centre, advocate Ameyavikrama Thanvi apprised the top court of this fact. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and also comprising justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra asked the Centre to apprise them of the policy on the next date of the listing.
Meanwhile, the court also directed the Centre to ensure that a national model is in place to set up girls’ toilets across government schools. The Centre had earlier apprised the court about its proposal to direct all states and UTs to make provisions for ensuring the availability of quality low-cost sanitary pads, and vending machines in schools. Taking note of the importance of the matter, the court had earlier issued various directions including one that all states should send the Union their menstrual hygiene policies and to ensure low-cost sanitary napkins and safe disposal mechanisms.
The court was hearing a plea seeking to issue directions to governments to provide free sanitary pads to girls studying in Classes 6 to 12. The plea has been moved by social activist Jaya Thakur through advocates Varinder Kumar Sharma and Varun Thakur. The petitioner said that serious difficulty is faced by adolescent females between the ages of 11 and 18 years coming from poor backgrounds.
These are adolescent females who are not well-equipped and are also not educated by their parents about menstruation and menstrual hygiene. The deprived economic status and illiteracy leads to the prevalence of unhygienic and unhealthy practices which has serious health consequences; increases obstinacy and leads to eventual dropping out from schools.
Henceforth, in the plea, the petitioner has sought to issue directions to provide separate girl toilets in all government-aided and residential schools and to issue directions to provide one cleaner in all government-aided and residential schools to clean the toilets. The plea also sought to issue a writ order or directions in the nature of mandamus to the Respondents to provide a three-stage awareness programme i.e. Firstly, the spreading of awareness about menstrual health and unboxing the taboos that surround it; Secondly, providing adequate sanitation facilities and subsidised or free sanitary products to women and young students, especially in disadvantaged areas; thirdly, to ensure an efficient and sanitary manner of menstrual waste disposal.
In India, the right to health derives from the Directive Principles of State Policy and is an established right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India which guarantees the right to life and dignity, the petition said. The ability to manage menstruation in a hygienic manner is fundamental to the dignity and well-being of women, especially in a democratic society. It constitutes an integral component of basic hygiene, sanitation, and reproductive health services. Inadequate menstrual hygiene management compromises girls’ education, health, and well-being.
Therefore, efforts to address these inadequacies must involve the provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities along with creating an enabling social and physical environment that addresses all menstruation-related needs, the petition added.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.