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Lack Of Sanitary Napkins Should Not Curb Girl Children To Attend Schools During Menstruation Days: Karnataka High Court

Under the Shuchi scheme, the Court has ordered the State Government to ensure the supply and distribution of sanitary napkins to girl children aged between 10-19.

By: N. Pooja Reddy, KLE Law College (Bengaluru)

Hygiene is one of the important things to be ensured by the State Government for the welfare of the people. In this regard, the government should ensure those adolescent girl children have access to sanitary napkins. The High Court stated that lack of hygienic products should not be a roadblock for girl children to attend schools on menstruating days.

Under the Shuchi scheme, sanitary napkins need to be distributed in schools and hostels between the age group of 10-19 yrs.

A total of 17,06,933 adolescent girls are beneficiaries of the scheme in the state. 

“We reiterate that plan of action under SHUCHI SCHEME shall be implemented by the State for adolescent girls between the age group of 10-19 years, as the same is an aid to the empowerment of such adolescent girls particularly residing in rural and remote places, travelling from the villages to the Taluk headquarters or District headquarters for their education. In the circumstances, State is directed to comply with the time schedule that it is enunciated in the communication dated 21.04.2021 referred to above and place on record a status report on the progress made by the next date of hearing”, said the Court.

The Court also opined to have separate toilets for girl children which would enhance their health, hygiene and privacy. As a result, it would ensure full attendance of the adolescent girls in the schools and their right to education would be fulfilled. The High Court even directed the State government to strictly abide by the time schedule it has enunciated for procurement of sanitary napkins/pads for the year 2021-22. 

Before the Court, the State Government submitted that by the end of April 2021, the technical committee would be meeting and in the month of May 2021, the administrative approval will be sought and within 90 days thereafter the procurement shall be made.

The Government also informed that since the schools are closed due to COVID, the distribution of sanitary napkins would take place at their homes with the help of health care workers. However, when the schools are reopened the same shall be done at their respective schools.

In this regard, the Court directed the State Government to make a status report by the end of May 31st. The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by the Anti Corruption Council of India. 

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