New Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday (July 24), a plea seeking directions to states and the Centre to provide free sanitary pads to class 6-12 girls and ensure separate female toilet facility in all government-aided and residential schools. The plea by social worker Jaya Thakur is scheduled to be heard by a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.
The top court had earlier asked the Centre to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure and a national model to be adopted by all states and Union Territories for managing menstrual hygiene for girls studying in schools.
On April 10, the top court had said the issue was of “immense importance” and that the Centre should engage with all the stakeholders for implementation of a uniform national policy on management of menstrual hygiene in schools, including government and aided schools.
It had appointed the secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) as the nodal officer to coordinate with all the states and UTs and collect relevant data for formulating a national policy.
The apex court had noted the MoHFW, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Jal Shakti already run schemes to address issued related to the menstrual hygiene.
At the present stage, we are of the considered view that it would be appropriate if the Union Government engages with all the State governments and Union Territories to ensure that a uniform national policy is formulated with sufficient leeway for the States and Union Territories to make adjustments, based on the prevailing conditions in their territories, it had said.
Ms Thakur in her plea filed through advocate Varinder Kumar Sharma has said serious difficulties are faced by adolescent females between the ages of 11 and 18 years who come from poor backgrounds, in receiving education on account of lack of access to education, a constitutional right under Article 21A of the Constitution.
These are adolescent females who are not equipped with and are also not educated by their parents about menstruation and menstrual hygiene. The deprived economic status and illiteracy leads to prevalence of unhygienic and unhealthy practices which has serious health consequences, increase obstinacy and leads to eventual dropping out from schools, the plea said.
(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.