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SC to hear plea on free sanitary pads for students

July 24, 2023

July 23, The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday 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.

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.

Source: PTI

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